Green Party Leader Responds to Auditor General Report on Silviculture

Fredericton – Today, Auditor General, Kim MacPherson, presented the second volume of her annual report. In it, she uncovered an apparent bias toward industry in its stewardship of Crown forests.

“We have known anecdotally that government after government has prioritized corporate interests in New Brunswick over sustainable management of our forests,” said David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick. “Now we know the numbers.”

According to the Auditor General’s report, government has invested over $122 million in public funds over the last five years to support forest management with no direct financial benefit to New Brunswickers. In fact, she found government has run a deficit in its management of Crown lands each of these five years totaling $53.7 million.

“Natural resource development should be generating revenue to support our schools and hospitals, not costing us money. Unbelievably, the current approach to forest management is contributing to our deficit,” said Coon.

The Auditor General reported that clearcutting has increased beyond 80% while selective cutting has fallen below 10 percent of harvesting on Crown land.

The Auditor General also found that the Department of Natural Resources has failed to comply with the Crown Lands and Forests Act in a number of instances. For example, the department has violated its own legislation in failing to ensure that industry buys a volume of wood from woodlot owners that is proportionate to what it cuts on Crown land.