CBC Maritimes

The battle for hearts and minds on the future of forestry heats up / Phone-in: Duff Conacher, head of "Democracy Watch" : What would improve the health of democracy in Canada ?

The battle for hearts and minds on the future of forestry heats up / Phone-in: Duff Conacher, head of "Democracy Watch" : What would improve the health of democracy in Canada ?
A campaign by the forest industry in Nova Scotia has targeted certain recommendations from two of the three panelists who served on a committee that consulted widely on forestry issues and practices

Not Out Of The Woods Yet : When is a clearcut not a clear cut ? Is the use of herbicides justified if it means protecting an industry that's worth billions ? Those are some of the high stakes questions at the core of a serious difference of opinion about the future management of the forest industry.
In Nova Scotia, two out of three members on a government committee recommended tight restrictions on clear cutting, whole tree harvesting, and the use of herbicides.[To read the conflicting views of the panelists, click here. ]
The Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia, however, says that would take away some of the tools the industry is now permitted to use, and wants the recommendations re-examined. It's launched what it calls an "awareness campaign" among its 700 members - who range from from large pulp companies to small woodlot owners. It's encouraging them to write to the Minister of Natural Resources urging him to reject the recommendations.
We heard from Raymond Plourde, Wilderness Co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre (who calls the campaign classic scaremongering) and Steve Talbot, Executive Director of the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia.

They Call It Democracy: Every generation of movers & shakers knows the principles you must support - loudly and publicly - if you want to be accepted as a leader...the so-called "Mom & Apple Pie" principles which no right-thinking person would argue against. "Justice" and "Fairness" and "Good Governance" used to be in vogue. But these days, candidates for everything from municipal council to the Prime Minister's job or the CEO's position in a major corporation are just wild about "transparency" and "accountability".
Since 1993, Duff Conacher has measured this rhetoric against actual behaviour and deeds. His non-profit, non-partisan organization, "Democracy Watch" says it's dedicated to "Cleaning up and making governments and corporations more accountable to you, and making Canada the world's leading democracy!" Mr Conacher has announced that he'll be stepping down within the year.
He claims success in a variety of Democracy Watch's campaigns - more than 100 changes in federal laws and policies addressing bank accountability, government ethics, honesty in politics, money in politics, open government, and corporate responsibility, and changes to provincial laws on political finance limits and lobbyist disclosure.
But we all know cases in which the "transparency and accountability" mantra has not translated into action. So what would bring actions into line with promises from political and corporate leaders ? What would remove unnecessary secrecy from government ? What would ensure that ethical standards are adequate and enforced ?
Duff Conacher was our guest as we asked : What would improve the health of democracy in Canada ?

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