Activists’ stance on forest protection an insult to Northerners

June 17, 2015

By: Timmins Press

 I am writing in response to an article I read in the Timmins Daily Press that can be found at http://www.timminspress.com/2015/06/11/greenpeace-responds-to-eco-terrorist-portrayal.

While I respect Mr. Richard Brooks of Greenpeace having an opinion, I remain offended by the suggestion that somehow, as leaders and people of the North we are so naïve and incapable of making decisions for ourselves, that we are simply being misled by one forestry company and a forestry association, that somehow we have little to no capacity to understand any different and as such, are also victims of this one forestry company and their association; that somehow, we can’t conclude for ourselves that policies like the politically driven caribou policy that aims to shut down 65% of the whole boreal forest in all of Canada, actually impacts all companies and municipalities, not just one company as Mr. Brooks seems to imply.

Perhaps the best perspective though is that while Greenpeace seems intent on labelling anyone who asks them for public accountability as a “troublemaker,” it’s not the forestry association and this one company who are hanging from buildings, or picketing outside of customer’s businesses, or asking stakeholders to write anything “false.”

When Greenpeace does this, I wonder if they realize that they are essentially supporting our claim that their argument is ideological and not rational. That it’s based on divide and conquer more so than it is on sophisticated dialogue. That the biggest downfall of their campaign, besides the credibility it lacks when faced with factual information, is the fact that they continue to discount (or seem willing to sacrifice) the human impact on the ground surrounding an entire race of people and model way of life that they seem all too comfortable trading off in the process.

And because of these reasons, they have become a threat to Northern Ontario, not a friend.

Rhetorically, do they realize that when Greenpeace does this and makes statements such as “The forest can’t defend itself,” it suggests that government, industry, communities and First Nations (and all of those who actually live here) are doing a poor and irresponsible job managing our Crown resources, while inferring that only the young people who work for Greenpeace and live over a thousand kilometers away from the outcomes, know better.

When the truth is that Canada retains 90% of its original forest cover to this day, has some of the most rigorous, world renowned environmental standards, boasting the world’s greatest share of environmentally certified forests, and that it’s law for every company to maintain these standards.

Again, I appreciate that Mr. Brooks and Greenpeace have their own good intentions, however, isn’t it time for everyone living in other parts of the country and world to understand that as Northerners, we are more than capable of managing our own affairs.

That those affairs are integral to who we are as a people and what our future becomes. No one has more vested interest in not only maintaining the responsible relationship we have with the environment around us, but in continuing to be role models on how to responsibly coexist with nature.

Can I politely suggest that it’s time for Greenpeace and others to see the need to recognize the families they impact and to find constructive ways of maintaining those interests first, that go beyond condescending suggestions that they are here to actually protect us from ourselves?

Peter Politis,

Mayor, Town of Cochrane

By: Timmins Press

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