Evidence of meeting #29 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was conservation.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Monte Hummel  Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement
  • Bradley Young  Senior Policy Analyst, National Aboriginal Forestry Association

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

I'm sorry. Are you asking if we include tourist interests and mining interests in our perspective?

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

That's correct.

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

I guess the short answer is that those aren't priorities for us. We're looking at forests and forest management, but before we can deliver any sort of packaged agreements to government or come to them with proposals that they are likely to act upon, we need to be able to show that we've taken into consideration all of the interests in the forest. That obviously includes aboriginal interests. It often includes tourist interests. It less often includes mining interests.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

So if a proponent wanted to initiate a mining project within the confines of the forest that you are managing, would your organization be involved or would that be outside the scope of what you do?

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

We wouldn't have anything to say about whether or not that goes ahead, but in talking to government about conservation plans and management plans for the area, we would certainly have to take into consideration mining interests. That includes oil and gas. For example, in some of the areas in Alberta that we're working on, energy interests are the dominant interests in the forest.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

Okay.

You mentioned aboriginal involvement. Are any of those nine NGOs aboriginal groups? Or how do you engage the aboriginal community in your work?

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

None of them are aboriginal groups, but some of them employ aboriginal people, and all of them work closely with aboriginal people.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

Okay.

How is the land selected that will be incorporated under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement?

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

It's the sum total of the forest management units under the management of the member companies in the Forest Products Association of Canada.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

Got it.

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

It's the licensed boreal forest that we're talking about.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

All right. Thank you.

Can you give me an example of, let's say, the most specific management program that would describe the actual implementation of the agreement?

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

Sure. We're working on one in northeastern Ontario right now, for example, where there are first nations interests and communities, and traditional use and territory. There are woodland caribou present. There are two companies that have very large forest management plans for forests that they're harvesting for commercial purposes. We're talking about two million to three million hectares. It's a large area.

In working with the companies and with the communities, our challenge has been to come up with a plan that accommodates the needs of the woodland caribou, accommodates the aspirations of the communities that are there, and also meets the wood volume needs of the companies that are involved.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON

What did that look like?

3:55 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Monte Hummel

We're proposing a zoned approach to it, which is new. The province has one approach, which is sort of a mosaic-cutting pattern. We've proposed a sort of zoned approach whereby the intact forest is left intact and there's more intensive management on the part of the forest that's already been disturbed. I want to emphasize that this kind of thinking and negotiation and discussion with companies and communities needs to deliver not just conservation-wise, but it needs to deliver those cubic metres that the mills need, as well as meeting the traditional uses of the communities. It's a different approach, which we take to government and say, look, we think we can meet the needs of the long-term management direction of the government for this area. We're meeting your overall objectives, but through discussions with the companies, communities, and other interests we think we have a different way of getting there. Often the situation will be polarized and people will be at each other's throats. What we try to deliver is a solution to government. It's up to government as to whether it wants to accept it and act on it.