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Greenpeace jeopardizing local, green jobs: OFIA


December 10, 2014
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) has voiced concerns about anti-SLAPP legislation that was recently re-introduced to the Ontario legislature. The industry organization says by supporting this legislation, Premier Wynne…

The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) has voiced concerns about anti-SLAPP legislation that was recently re-introduced to the Ontario legislature. The industry organization says by supporting this legislation, Premier Wynne “supporting well-financed special interest groups, like Greenpeace, by providing them the freedom to slander.”

OFIA president and CEO, Jamie Lim, stated, “We cannot understand why the Premier would reintroduce a Bill that protects environmental special interest companies like Greenpeace, allowing them to spread damaging misinformation without being held accountable. These ENGO companies are launching attacks on Ontario’s renewable resource and destroying the social and economic fabric of Northern and Rural Ontario communities.”

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OFIA’s director of policy and communications, Christine Leduc, stated, “Greenpeace must be held accountable for its spread of malicious misinformation that suggests forestry companies are harming the Canadian Boreal forest. Ontario’s forestry sector operates under a world-class forest management regime. It is reckless and irresponsible for Greenpeace to suggest otherwise.”

The term SLAPP is generally used to describe a strategic lawsuit against public participation, that is, a lawsuit that is intended to censor or intimidate critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense. Anti-SLAPP legislation should be designed to result in the termination of invalid lawsuits but allow claims made in good faith to proceed.

Leduc added: “We believe that the re-introduction of anti-SLAPP legislation will create a climate in which radical activist groups can make false claims about a range of industries on which Ontario communities depend, while enjoying protection from any legal opposition and accountability.”

Some youth in Northern and rural Ontario are also concerned that environmental campaigns will cost them future employment in their hometowns. Lakehead student Brian Collins recently stated at a public forum, “Anyone who has grown up around the industry knows that it is sustainable and together we strive to continually improve on our sustainability record. I believe that the biggest drivers of sustainability in the sector are the workers themselves, as we are the ones who live and work here. It’s our own future to protect. To have outside environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and others slander the sustainability practices of companies that operate in Northern Ontario is an attack on the workers and communities of the North. We grew up here and we want to stay and work here.”

OFIA president Jamie Lim asks Premier Wynne “to stand up for the hardworking citizens who rely on Ontario’s renewable forest products sector for their livelihood.

“To prevent radical special interest groups from using this proposed law as a shield to hide behind as they spread false information about the job creators in this province, Premier Wynne needs to make material amendments to this Act,” Lim concludes.

Lim comments that the anti-SLAPP legislation, if passed, will fuel the special interest groups’ campaigns which threaten the full recovery of Ontario’s responsible renewable forest products sector. Forestry companies in Ontario have announced recent investments of hundreds of millions in new facilities and expanded capacity.

Ontario’s forest products sector supports more than 170,000 direct and indirect jobs in more than 260 Ontario communities.


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