A lot of wood

Op­po­si­tion leader won­ders why Har­bour Grace com­pany earned wood al­lo­ca­tion and op­er­at­ing per­mit

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL MACEACHERN dmaceach­ern@cb­n­com­pass.ca

A Har­bour Grace com­pany at the cen­tre of a con­tro­ver­sial wood-cut­ting per­mit has made sev­eral po­lit­i­cal do­na­tions to New­found­land politi­cians over the last few pro­vin­cial elec­tions.

Ear­lier this fall, Paul Gar­land For­est Prod­ucts, based in Har­bour Grace, was awarded a wood al­lo­ca­tion and op­er­at­ing per­mit in District 5, in­clud­ing ar­eas near Glover­town, Gambo and Eastport.

Lib­eral op­po­si­tion leader Yvonne Jones is­sued a press release ask­ing why the Har­bour Grace com­pany was awarded the con­tract and not one of five com­pa­nies in the area who had asked for a per­mit.

“ The is­sue is not with Paul Gar­land, the is­sue is with the depart­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources, and the gov­ern­ment in terms of how they han­dled this is­sue,” said Yvonne Jones, leader of the Lib­eral op­po­si­tion. “ It could have been Paul Gar­land, it could have been any com­pany any­where in the prov­ince. The other piece of this is that District 5 is a huge for­est area that in­cludes a lot of the cen­tral area, a lot the area around Terra Nova. Forestry is a big in­dus­try down here and em­ploys hun­dreds of peo­ple, and a lot of it is for ex­port.”

Jones said when the Abitibi Bowa­ter mill closed in Fe­bru­ary, it left a lot of for­est land that re­verted back to pro­vin­cial con­trol, and there are other com­pa­nies in­ter­ested in get­ting the wood. But Jones said five lo­cal com­pa­nies ap­plied for per­mits and haven’t re­ceived any.

Jones said lo­cal op­er­a­tors have raised con­cerns about po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions.

“ This is not about Paul Gar­land not hav­ing wood here; it’s about in­clud­ing the oth­ers who are try­ing to make a liv­ing, in this area as well, and that has not been done. And there is still wood al­lo­ca­tion avail­able, and it still has not been done.”

Jones said peo­ple in the area are very con­cerned be­cause forestry is their liveli­hood.

“Right now, they’re see­ing wood leav­ing, be­ing used else­where, and that’s fine, it’s still in the prov­ince,” she said. “But at the same time, they don’t have that priv­i­lege.”

Jones wrote a let­ter to Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Kathy Dun­derdale, but has not re­ceived a re­ply.

But ac­cord­ing to pro­vin­cial doc­u­ments, a Paul Gar­land from Har­bour Grace do­nated $1,000 to Jerome Kennedy of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives dur­ing the 2007 pro­vin­cial elec­tion cam­paign. For the 2003 elec­tion, Paul Gar­land For­est Prod­ucts Ltd. is listed as hav­ing do­nated $ 1,000 to PC party ex­ec­u­tive John Babb, $500 to Lib­eral Roland But­ler, the MHA of Port de Grave. Dur­ing the 1999 elec­tion, Paul Gar­land For­est Prod­ucts do­nated $500 to Lib­eral John Ef­ford. Ef­ford was later elected to the House of Com­mons in a by­elec­tion in 2002 and be­came Paul Martin’s nat­u­ral re­sources min­is­ter.

In a 2001 pro­vin­cial by­elec­tion for Port de Grave, Paul Gar­land For­est Prod­ucts do­nated $ 300 each to Roland But­ler of the Lib­er­als and Ed Neil of the PCs.

In 1997, Paul Gar­land For­est Prod­ucts do­nated $950 to the Lib­eral Party.

Paul Gar­land did not re­turn phone calls left at Paul Gar­land For­est Prod­ucts re­quest­ing com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.