My friend Tom Miller disagrees with my opinion that it was impossible for Northern Pulp to meet its Boat Harbour Act obligations, and he says the mill should never have been built in the first place (letter June 21).
Tom and I campaigned for years to force the big mills to pay hundreds of millions of dollars above their feudal prices to our pulpwood producers. One contract added $47 million.
As for the notion Northern Pulp dilly-dallied on its obligations, the “five-year” deadline to get through the regulatory process, plan and build a new system was actually four years, eight months. Taking out the year to settle the Supreme Court appeal, the company had three years, eight months to do what normally takes seven or eight years. It was responding to provincial regulatory needs as recently as March of this year.
Your readers deserve to know that an end to the fervid community divisions and animosity could come as early as tomorrow if the premier and Chief Paul acknowledged the Act was a huge political mistake of serious social and economic consequences and agreed to extend the Act to allow work to begin. The forest industry collectively is already on record that the needs of Pictou Landing First Nation come first.
President, Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association