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The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Reconsidered

Issue: 69 Section: Environment Geography: Canada Topics: Indigenous, boreal

May 26, 2010

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Reconsidered

ENGOs sign over right to criticize, companies continue to log caribou habitat

by Dawn Paley

Clearcutting in the boreal forest in Alberta. The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement allows an area the size of Prince Edward Island to be cut in the caribou range, while deferring logging to outside the caribou range an area the size of Toronto. Photo: Dru Oja Jay

VANCOUVER—Last week’s announcement of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) was celebrated by environmental groups as a historic deal that could save a significant amount of sensitive woodland caribou habitat.

An early criticism of the deal was that Indigenous governments and organizations were left out of the creation of the agreement. The public was also left in the dark while the CBFA was negotiated in secret between nine environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and 21 forestry companies.

The 71-page agreement has yet to be released on the CBFA website. The Vancouver Media Co-op obtained a leaked copy shortly after the deal was announced.

Greenpeace and the other ENGOs involved in the agreement have chosen their words carefully. Greenpeace has called the deal an “unprecedented accord...covering more than 72 million hectares of public forests, an area twice the size of Germany.” The agreement includes what the proponents are calling a series of interim measures to protect caribou habitat while various levels of government take action to create protected areas for caribou.

Further investigation reveals that this agreement aims to silence all criticism of logging practices in the boreal forest in return for less than two years of diverting harvesting and road building from 72,205 hectares of woodland caribou habitat into other areas of the boreal forest.

View enlarged version. Map source: Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Annotations and overlays by Petr Cizek and Dru Oja Jay.

The 21 logging companies involved in the deal are grouped together as the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). Together, FPAC member firms hold tenures for over 72 million hectares of boreal forest, stretching north from the Northwest Territories down through northeastern British Columbia and continuing east all the way to Newfoundland. Included in these tenures are 29,336,953 hectares of caribou range lands, according to the report.

Between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012, FPAC companies had scheduled to harvest and build roads on 756,666 hectares inside caribou range lands. That means according to existing industry plans, the vast majority of caribou range lands were not slated to be harvested by the spring of 2012, when the current agreement expires.

Far from protecting caribou lands in their entirety, the outcome of the CBFA reduces the FPAC affiliate cut in caribou range lands from 756,666 to 684,461 hectares until spring 2012. This means 72,205 hectares of harvesting and road building will be “deferred” to “areas outside of caribou range.” In other words, there is no change in the amount of harvesting, only in the locations where harvesting takes place.

While the agreement technically "covers" a forest twice the size of Germany, the amount of caribou range that will not be cut before 2012 as a result of the agreement is only slightly larger than the City of Toronto.

The deal still allows 684,461 hectares to be cut in caribou habitat. This, despite the fact that an expert committee of the Canadian Wildlife Service recently recommended that virtually all industrial activity within woodland caribou range be suspended. In agreeing to the CBFA, the nine ENGOs involved are actively supporting the logging of an area larger than the entire province of Prince Edward Island within caribou habitat between now and 2012.

According to section 14.F of the deal, “FPAC members will publicly state that between April 1 2009 and March 31, 2012 there will be no harvesting or road building in approximately 28,651,492 hectares of caribou range in their tenures (or over 97.6 per cent of the caribou habitat in managed forest).”

By reducing the overall number of hectares of caribou range they refer to, logging companies and ENGOs can claim a near total halt on logging in caribou range lands, even though they’ll still log 684,461 hectares, almost 10 times the area they’re claiming to have saved.

Finally, the “three year” deal actually started more than a year ago, on April 1, 2009: industry promises for harvesting deferrals expire April 1, 2012.

But the numbers game is far from the only Orwellian aspect of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

Until April 1, 2012, nine ENGOs have signed on to work together with FPAC companies in “developing and advocating for policies and investments that improve the competitiveness of the Canadian forest sector, create a climate of greater investment certainty, while at the same time have a neutral to positive impact on the sector’s ecological performance.”

In addition, these ENGOs have agreed to express a “continuum” of support for FPAC members, ranging from “recognizing that [sic] the leadership represented by the commitment of FPAC Members to develop and implement the CBFA” to “demonstrating support for products from the boreal operations of FPAC members.”

To ensure that the days of Greenpeace dropping banners from Abitibi-Bowater’s HQ are long forgotten, the agreement stipulates that ENGOs will take back whatever bad things they may have said about FPAC member companies in the past.

This mandatory change in tone by environmental groups takes a couple of forms.

According to Section 6.3.D.ii, “Where an FPAC Member demonstrates an impediment to selling forest products to a specific customer from the boreal as a result of past or current advocacy work or communications, ENGOs will communicate with that customer to confirm they are receiving all joint communications related to progress in implementing the CFBA and that this should be taken into consideration in making procurement decisions.”

The agreement also stipulates that ENGOs will “review and update” their websites to “remove or update any information superseded by the CFBA.” For example, should Canfor find a photo or story about their activities in the boreal forest on the Forest Ethics website objectionable, “immediate steps will be taken to revise that material.”

The agreement also means that if an environmental group which is not a signatory of the deal should happen to tell someone from, say, the David Suzuki Foundation about plans to denounce one of the companies involved in the CBFA, the person from the Suzuki Foundation must warn FPAC member companies immediately.

ENGOs and FPAC will then jointly plan how to respond, which includes actively working together to “have such a third party appropriately modify its position and/or public statements.” This legalese means that the ENGOs and FPAC might jointly threaten to sue or sue the third party. In the past, industry has undertaken such SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suits, but it is precedent-setting that ENGOs have now become willing participants in striking down criticism of forest practices across Canada.

In return for swapping 72,205 hectares of harvesting out of the boreal forest and maintaining “voluntary deferrals” for another two years, the CBFA transforms the nine ENGOs involved into a promotional service, protection racket and intelligence gathering service for twenty one companies that are actively logging woodland caribou habitat within the boreal forest.

Dawn Paley is a Vancouver-based journalist and a member of the Vancouver Media Co-op.

Claims vs. Actual Protection: Land mass comparisons:

Click to enlarge:
Click to enlarge

Signatories to the CBFA:

Environmental Non-governmental Organizations:

Canadian Boreal Initiative
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Canopy
David Suzuki Foundation
ForestEthics
Greenpeace
The Nature Conservancy
Pew Environment Group
International Boreal Conservation Campaign
Ivey Foundation

Logging companies (grouped together as the Forest Products Association of Canada):

AbitibiBowater Inc.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
AV Group
Canfor Corporation
Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership
Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company
Cascades inc.
Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd.
F.F. Soucy Inc.
Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited Partnership
Kruger Inc.
Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd.
Mercer International
Mill & Timber Products Ltd.
NewPage Corporation
Papier Masson Ltée
SFK Pâte
Tembec
Tolko Industries Ltd.
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
Weyerhaeuser Company Limited


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Comments

CBFA charade

So much for the 'historic' agreement between the forest industry and the ENGOs.
My take on the situation: This is the same kind of behaviour we see among many other advocacy groups on many diverse arenas of struggle in Canada. The advocacy groups receive money from large foundations and private donors who want to see 'tangible results' for giving them money. Subsequently these organizations enter into these kinds of public charades to give an illusion that they are being effective with the financial contributions. Claims of ‘effectiveness’ are then presented as justifications for why they should continue to receive more money because of their 'results.’ Also these groups become ‘infested’ with people who are right wing social democrats and liberals thereby creating an environment where more progressive minded individuals experience hostility to their more radical approach.
This is obvious to most people anyway but just thought to post a reminder to consider for the next time someone thinks about where to make a financial contribution.

purdy good analysis there

purdy good analysis there Alley Katz. Also comes down to personal and group/organisational integrity, honesty with one/itself and others. Instead of making the donors play by its rules, they play by the donors' rules, losing integrity and legitimacy in the process.

Full agreement is online

The full agreement is now accessible through the Wilderness Committee's website (not sure if it's a leaked copy or not.)

http://wildernesscommittee.org/sites/all/files/cbfa-text-may-14-2010-final.pdf

same

yea, that's the same one I had access to while writing this piece (as posted on VMC). Detailed maps are still missing.

Thanks for primary document!

Thanks for the agreement, helps to have the primary documents.

Yes, I agree - CFBA language was carefully chosen:

Great writing Dawn, thank you very much.

Here's my take:

“developing jointly supported action plans that are based on leading, independent science and that provide input into relevant government processes”

That belief will not protect nature! It creates thousands of miles of clear cut barren wastelands for “environment friendly” export 2×4’s, for the next three years while the NGOs sit in an office protecting “caribou” on maps and diagrams with circles and arrows and paragraphs that explain the necessary amount of light for moss production to keep x number of caribou from landing on the red list for extinction.

http://www.priscillajudd.ca/thexpress/?p=453

agreement analysis

Nice article Dawn, glad to see there's some other skeptics out there. I've linked to your article and posted some thoughts on my weblog: www.salmonguy.org

Will be posting some more thoughts on the agreement as i wade through it.
dl

great blog

really enjoyed reading it. Have you given this a listen yet?

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/audio/3573

d

garbage

your article is garbage. You have still not interviewed anyone who is part of the agreement directly. That's not very good journalism and this reads like an opinion piece though you are described as "Dawn Paley is a Vancouver-based journalist and a member of the Vancouver Media Co-op."

If an organization chooses to stop criticizing or protesting a company that's their chose. If you are a financial supporter of that organization you have the right to stop donating. Maybe Greenpeace should be saying that dawn, salmon guy, ivan, etc. are not doing anything and thus are sell-outs to companies. They don't because it does not really matter - you're all independent. If you chose to protest - that's your right - if you chose not to, that's your right as well. Public infighting in the movement doesn't really help anyone. Take your blogging energy and set up a markets campaign, or organize a protest, or at least write a letter to some decisionmaker. Or just sit at your computer and continue to not do anything.

?

I interviewed Steve Kallick who was part of the agreement directly. You can see that interview included in another story I did, which is linked to in this piece.

Set up a market protest or write a letter? BWA HAHAHA. Good one anonymous keyboard warrior. Hilarious.

Did Paley even read the CBFA?

This article is absolutely awful; it’s grossly misleading, and contains several false and/or confused statements about the contents of the CBFA. Some of the statements are so obviously false to anyone who’s actually read the deal that I find it hard to escape the conclusion that either the author didn’t read the whole deal, or she decided to suppress those parts which she found inconvenient. The most charitable interpretation I have been able to come up with is that the author got over-excited about having a juicy scoop when she obtained her leaked copy of the agreement, and, overzealous in her desire to write a hard-hitting expose trashing the deal, simply didn't read the agreement carefully, or even fully, and interpreted what she did read through the lens of the story she wanted to tell, and so saw primarily what she wanted to see.

The most glaringly false statements in the article are the claims that the CBFA basically consisted of the following trade between environmental groups (ENGOs) and logging companies (FPAC members): FPAC members agreed to defer logging in 72205 hectares of caribou habitat until March 31, 2012, and in exchange the ENGOs help market FPAC members as 'green'. Paley makes this claim when she writes that "this agreement aims to silence all criticism of logging practices in the boreal forest in return for less than two years of diverting harvesting and road building from 72,205 hectares of woodland caribou habitat into other areas of the boreal forest." And then again: "In return for swapping 72,205 hectares of harvesting out of the boreal forest and maintaining ‘voluntary deferrals’ for another two years, the CBFA transforms the nine ENGOs involved into a promotional service, protection racket and intelligence gathering service for twenty one companies that are actively logging woodland caribou habitat within the boreal forest."

For those who haven't read the agreement, here’s my ultra-quick three-sentence rough summary:
The CBFA sets up a framework and a foundation for signatories to collaborate in the management of logging and other forest sector activities within the boreal tenures of the companies who've sign it. It outlines six 'Goals' (a better term for them would be commitments) and sketches out how signatories will achieve them and on what time frame. The Goals are: 1) companies implement Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) in the areas they log; 2) implement and advocate for a network of protected areas within the boreal; 3) develop and implement recovery plans for species at risk, especially caribou (this is where the deferrals come in); 4) position forest products within the larger effort to tackle climate change; 5) some general priorities for prosperity in the forest sector; 6) environmental groups work to help brand companies as 'green'.

Obviously this summary glosses over and leaves out a lot, but it gives the basic gist of the deal. If anyone wants to read the goals in detail they're described in Schedule A. But the basic point is that if the CBFA consists of a trade then it consists of ENGOs giving Goal 6 and FPAC members giving Goals 1, 2, and 3 (goals 4 and 5 don't seem to clearly be a 'concession' for either side). However, this article would have you believing that Goals 1 and 2 don't exist, despite the fact that they have 6 pages (18-23) devoted to them, and that Goal 3 (pages 24-28) consists entirely of the deferrals, which it does not. Did Paley simply not read pages 18-28? Perhaps she thought Goals 1 and 2 and most of 3 were so meaningless that they might as well not be in the agreement; but if so then she must provide some sort of explanation or argument for why this is the case (e.g. explain why EBM, protected areas and recovery plans are worthless, or why there's no reason to think EBM, protected areas and recovery plans would actually be implemented), rather than simply suppressing the fact of their existence.

Paley also confuses the expiry date of the deferrals with the expiry date of the agreement, incorrectly claiming that the agreement expires when the deferrals do (though, admittedly, this is an understandable error for somebody who apparently thinks the agreement consists solely of the deferrals and Goal 6). She refers to "the spring of 2012, when the current agreement expires," and then later on she refers to the CBFA as a "‘three year’ deal" (the deferrals expire in the spring of 2012). From these statements I can only conclude that Paley either didn't read or simply forgot about Section 44 of the agreement, which states that the CBFA "will continue in effect until full implementation of all elements of Schedule ‘A’... unless terminated sooner by mutual written agreement of the parties." That is, the CBFA doesn't expire until it's been fully implemented, unless the signatories all agree to end it sooner. Thus the agreement expires not when a particular date arrives, but rather when certain conditions are met.

Overall, the deal described in this article bears only a superficial resemblance to the actual CBFA.

I apologize if I’ve been overly harsh in my comments, but I really don’t appreciate being mislead, and that’s exactly how I felt when I actually went and read the CBFA after reading this article.

Yes

I did read the CBFA, from beginning to end. I'm glad that you went and read the agreement, my point with the article is to distinguish the spin ("saving a forest the size of Germany") from what the agreement actually says. Through the spin, we've been extremely misled about the contents of this agreement.

Can you give an example of EBM has led to anything except self-regulation by a logging company?

Also do you have an official affiliation with Greenpeace? Just wondering.

I'm glad to know you read the agreement

But how could you possibly think that the way “to distinguish the spin… from what the agreement actually says” was to lie about what the agreement actually says!?

The mistake about when the CBFA expires I can understand; Section 44 is three little lines in a long, dense document. You should have caught it, but it’s understandable that you didn’t. But I really have trouble grasping how you could have read the agreement and completely missed the 11 pages (18-28) that describe Goals 1, 2 and 3; or, if you knew about them, how you could have possibly failed to realize that some of the claims you were making in the article were false! I’m really having trouble wrapping my head around this, so please, help me to understand. I’m still not clear from your response whether or not you knew your article contained false statements. Did you?

If you knew, then it must be made clear that such lying isn’t OK; honesty is a sine qua non of decent journalism. Your intention may have been to counter the ‘spin’, but the appropriate way to respond to spin is with truth, not with lies and more spin.

If you didn’t know, then I would suggest that, in the future, you focus more of your energies towards honestly and critically reporting on events, and less on trying to create in your audience the perceptions you wish them to have. I think good reporting often does foster dissent, but it does this almost as a side effect, by showing audiences important truths which are hidden from them. You do not decide what you want people to dissent to, and then try to come up with a narrative that will induce them to dissent to it. If you ask me, the manufacture of dissent is as reprehensible as the manufacture of consent, for largely the same reasons.

As for your questions, they’re irrelevant to our discussion. I’m not here to defend or express an opinion about EBM, Greenpeace, or even the CBFA. I posted my comment here on the advice of The Dominion editors as a way to address the false statements contained in your article; my intention is to correct those errors, and to try to engage in a process that will help ensure that the material The Dominion publishes in the future is both accurate and honest. Not only do I think this is important for ethical reasons, but I also happen to like The Dominion quite a bit (been a member for over a year), and so I don’t like to see its credibility damaged.

However, if you’d like to get to know me better and you’re ever in Toronto (or I'm ever in Vancouver), I’d happily take you out for a beer.

respectful dialogue

ASR your tone is disrespectful and your accusations against me are baseless.

I interpret the CBFA as essentially about the amount of forest to be protected, as opposed to an agreement that is about how to save the caribou through things like EBM, green marketing, and supposedly combating climate change.

Because my interpretation of the agreement is different from yours it does not mean that I am a liar or that I am making false statements.

I don't have the time right now to go back through the agreement and rebut your arguments, as you will note that this piece was written months ago (just days after the agreement came out).

As I stated before I am glad you read the agreement, and if you think it's a great deal, then that's fantastic for you. I'm more skeptical. I don't expect you to agree with me (not for one moment) but I do expect respectful dialogue. Until that happens, I consider this discussion closed.

Gang Green just doing their job as part of the agreement

Hahaha, looks like a Pew/Gang Green operative finally had a look at your excellent article Dawn.

The simple answer to the operative is that he/she refers to "aspirational" parts of the agreement. In contrast you point out that the only immediate and concrete things that the agreement does is get Gang Green to agree to support logging an area the size of PEI in woodland caribou habitat in exchange for deferring an area the size of the City of Toronto. Oh, and Gang Green also agree "gang" up with industry on anyone who dares criticize them.....I guess the anonymous operative is just fulfilling the terms of the agreement.

Cheers! Petr

Respect

The whole agreement is aspirational. It's just words on paper. A written commitment to not log in certain areas for a certain period of time is aspirational until that commitment has been fulfilled (i.e. until the time period has elapsed with no violations of the commitment). Thus, for now, the deferrals are just as aspirational as Goal 2 and the rest of the agreement.

Also, I'm not posting anonymously, and I don't appreciate your accusation Petr. I not an 'operative' and I'm expressing my honest opinion. You don't know me, or what I think, or where I come from.

What does it say about us if we can't point out factual errors (let alone express a diversity of opinions!) without being subject to attempts to discredit us personally? This is supposed to be democratic participatory media, and I'm amazed that I'm being attacked for pointing out errors in the article.

Let's all follow Dawn's lead in her last comment and try to be respectful of each other.

Oh look, I'm being repressed!

Hi ASR,

You moved pretty fast from calling someone a liar in public and anonymously (when I post as "DOJ", I think that's anonymous unless it's possible for the people I'm talking to to figure out who I am) to complaining about being attacked!

There does seem to be a difference of opinion between you and Dawn about what is substantially agreed to in the agreement.

Embedded in all your attacking is a reasonable request: that you would have liked the article to deal directly with the parts of the agreement that deal with EBM and recovery plans instead of focusing on what was substantially gained by the agreement that was announced, and touted as the largest conservation agreement ever (I'm not feeling up to searching the GPC site for the specific words they used, but it was pretty grandiose as I recall...)

Since you persist in leaving your request in the spiky sheath of a bunch of insults, I'm sure you can understand why the dialogue isn't progressing as you might have hoped, if indeed you were hoping.

One quick question: are you, or have you recently been, an employee of any of the parties to the agreement? I noticed, also, that you did not answer Dawn's query to this effect.

rephrased to be gentler

You're right, I did move fast. Because I thought Dawn made a good point and I felt bad about some of what I'd said. But if there's a standard, I feel it should be applied to everyone equally.

I'm sorry I'm so worked up about this... I haven't been speaking respectfully, and I need to fix that. And thank you for acknowledging that I am raising a real issue. Here is a much gentler overview of my concerns; .

On the reasonable request you mention:
I think there are few issues here. One is how I think the article should have covered the deal. Let's postpone that. Another is the question of what was substantially gained by the agreement and how we determine this (i.e. what are the criteria for qualifying as substantial); and a related question which I want to raise is whether we should make use of more than one set of criteria for what counts as substantially gained in discussing the deal.

These last two are the areas where I think I'm unclear, and might have a different perspective to offer.

On the question of what was substantially gained in the deal, I'm not clear what criteria were used in the article. From what people have said my best guess is that substantial gains are parts of the deal which actually protect forest from logging completely. But if so then it's not clear to me why the deferrals qualify as a substantial gain while Goal 2 (commitment to establish network of protected areas) doesn't.

On the last question, whether we should use more than one set of criteria for deciding what counts as substantial gain (or for evaluating anything, really), I would argue that we often should. I think there are at least two main reasons for this. One is that your audience may be using different criteria from you and not know it, and so may be greatly misled and not really understand you; but if you adopt more than one set of criteria then you can communicate more clearly with a wider range of people who might not share your criteria, and you're able to compare and contrast different standards (this helps to convince others to adopt your preferred criteria; and allows others to judge the relative merits of different criteria for themselves so they can decide which they wish to adopt, rather than having only one option). The other reason is that to interpret, understand and evaluate others' actions properly, we need to know the criteria they're using, otherwise their behaviour could seem bizarre; not to say that we shouldn't apply our own standards as well, but we need to apply their standards too; I think this is important in order to give people with different criteria a fair shake, so people can judge for themselves what's valid and what's invalid in their perspective, rather than not considering it all; this is useful for critical analysis, I think, since by understanding the internal logic of people and institutions we seek to criticize we can offer more insightful criticism. And since I think it's generally the case that we're communicating with and trying to understand other people who have a wide variety of different criteria from us, we should keep the possibility of different criteria in mind when communicating with or interpreting others.

I think that in the context of the CBFA multiple sets of criteria for substantial gain should be used for both these reasons. As for the audience having different criteria, I'm a perfect example; I think that substantial gains can be had by changing how logging happens (i.e. selective logging vs clearcut), not just where logging happens (and I suspect many people think similarly), and though I don't really know much about EBM, it sounds good on paper (in the CBFA), and I feel I would have benefited more if the article had acknowledged that EBM was in the deal (adopting my set of criteria) and then proceeded to explain why EBM was green wash (adopting Dawn's criteria); that way I wouldn't have been misled, Dawn could have the chance to share her views on EBM, and I would have had the opportunity to consider another perspective and decide what I thought made sense for myself.

As for trying to understand people with different criteria, I think this is relevant with the ENGOs. One of the things that totally baffled me when I first read the article was I couldn't conceive how the ENGOs would trade so much for so little; it was totally inconsistent with what they claimed they were trying to accomplish in the boreal, and made them appear totally irrational; I had many doubts. But then I read the CBFA, and I saw that the CBFA was far more consistent with the ENGOs stated aims than it appeared in the article. And so I think that by not adopting the criteria of the ENGOs at all it makes them appear highly irrational in a way that's very misleading. I think it would have made more sense to say what the ENGOs thought they were getting (adopt their criteria) and then criticize it for it green wash or whatever (adopting Dawn's perspective).

As for how I think the article should have covered the deal... well, I just described some of the ways I think the article should have been different. I think those were my main concerns, other than the mistake about the expiry date, which I'd fix. Other than that it's mostly just my personal opinion: some of the points raised I thought were solid, while others not so much. Though if I were writing it I would include a summary of the whole deal, including each of the goals, including goals 4 and 5.

I guess to summarize I have three points for clarification or response: I’m not clear on what the criteria for substantial gain were for the article such that goal 2 didn’t qualify; when audience’s criteria for substantial gain might differ it’s important to be explicit and contrast yours to what theirs might be; when evaluating the behaviour of others we need to consider their criteria as well as our own.

The last thing I wanted to raise was the issue of when the agreement expires, as there's been no response to that yet.

I hope this was more respectful; I didn't feel angry writing it.

As for your question about my employment history... I have another question: why do you guys want to know so bad? what is the potential relevance of that? I just don't see why it's relevant.

But just in case you have any concerns about 'CBFA spies' or something, I give you my word that I am representing only myself and my own views in my comments here, and in raising these issues I'm an agent of no one but my sovereign self. If you're ever in Toronto and feel like grabbing a drink, I'd be down. I'm really much nicer than my showing here suggests...

Fair comment

Hi ASR,

I'll give you credit for continuing to move fast. I think that what you've written most recently qualifies as a fair and useful comment, which adds to the article that it's commenting on. Bummer that people have to wade through a bunch of other stuff to get to it, but you've apologized, so, onward.

"As for your question about my employment history... I have another question: why do you guys want to know so bad? what is the potential relevance of that? I just don't see why it's relevant."

You may choose not to disclose that, but I think it's very much relevant. When people are paid money by institutions, and when they might want to be paid money again by institutions, they moderate their views. The concept is known as conflict of interest, and it's quite widely accepted.

I think that it's telling that no one from Greenpeace or any of the other partners has been willing to defend the agreement against the public criticisms. Even you won't put your name to your comments as an individual.

By contrast, Dawn has taken the time to read the agreement, and for very little pay, put forward -- with her full name attached -- a view that exposed her to the anonymous hatred of dozens of anonymous people who apparently hate criticism of Greenpeace et alia.

To me, that speaks to the level of unaccountable and ultimately illegitimate power that has been built up in the environmental movement. Part of what fuels that power is salaries and the promise thereof. Another thing that fuels that power is the anonymous invective and passive aggressive behaviour that anyone who ventures public criticism can expect to be on the receiving end of. And I would venture to say that there is a connection between the two.

That, in my view, is why it's relevant.

I'm sorry and agreed, respectful dialogue is important

I apologize if I’ve been disrespectful. As I said before, I don’t like being misled, and my frustration and annoyance over that, and the degree to which I and others reading your article have been mislead, is seeping into what I write. Also, I don’t think my tone has been any more disrespectful than your tone in either your article or in your response to one of the comments above, and I guess I assumed that if you were comfortable with talking to or about others in that way, then you’d be comfortable with others talking to and about you similarly in response (i.e. if you could dish it you could take it)... However two wrongs don’t make a right, and I probably should have been more respectful with my wording; your point is taken; I’ll endeavor to be more respectful, and I think we should all try to be more respectful in how we express our criticisms and respond to others’.

Since you didn’t deny what I was saying in your last comment, I assumed you were acknowledging that the errors I was pointing out were real, and so I responded based on that assumption. I’m sorry if that was presumptuous.

You suggest that our disagreement is about interpretation, but I don’t think that’s true. I also don’t think my claims that some of the statements in your article are false were baseless: I provided a basis, with specific quotations and page references. The error I pointed out about when the agreement expires is not an error of interpretation; the CBFA is very explicit about when it expires, and what the CBFA says is different (it contradicts) what you said. And as for the other error about what the ENGOs got out of the deal, even if you interpret the CBFA on the narrowest grounds, and decide to report only those parts having to do with the amount of forest to be protected, then you would still have to report on Goal 2 (establishing a network of protected areas). So I’m unclear on why you didn’t.

Also, as I said in my first comment, if you think that EBM and recovery plans are so worthless that they may as well not be in the deal, than you need to give some argument or explanation. If a union negotiates a 3-year contract and agrees to cuts in benefits and wages in exchange for an ESOP and a TTC travel allowance for a year, and you’re someone who thinks ESOPs are bad, and you report on the deal as the union giving up benefits and wage increases in exchange for a years’ travel allowance, then I don’t think you’re reporting accurately, and I think readers will be misled. I think the right way to report in that situation is to acknowledge that the union got the ESOP, since it’s something they see as a gain, and but then criticize ESOPs as being bad/harmful or whatever. Otherwise it just makes the union look crazy; and maybe they are, but not on the grounds that such an article would have its readers believe (the right way to report this leads readers to believe the union is crazy because they think ESOPs are worth a lot, while the wrong way leads readers to believe they’re crazy because they think a travel allowance is worth a lot). In an similar way, since ENGOs see EBM and recovery plans as wins and have openly supported them for a while, it makes them look crazy on specious grounds to not mention Goals 1 and 3.

And I’m sorry for not bringing this up sooner. I wasn’t sufficiently motivated to put the effort into writing out my comments (I knew this would take some time, as I didn’t want to just make my claims without supporting argument and evidence) until your article was actually published in The Dominion and I saw its credibility being damaged. But given how seriously I think you’re article misrepresents the contents of the CBFA, I do think it’s important that you either rebut my arguments or acknowledge the errors I’ve pointed out.

Also, I never said I thought CBFA was a great deal; in fact, I too have my criticisms of it, and one of the reasons I’m troubled by the errors in your piece is because I think they take attention away from other criticisms of the CBFA which I think should be made.

Where did you learn all your passive-aggressive behaviour, ASR?

.....was that in law school (Hello Larry?) or do they provide a special course in "media relations" and psychological voodoo in some Pew-run Gang Green training camp? Did they also train you to baffle with acronyms? What the hell is an "ESOP" anyway (Not that I care in the least)?

Also, please explain why Gang Green didn't release the full agreement until long after it was leaked to the Dominion? Was it because by then the "mainstream" media would have fully assimilated your outrageous lie about "suspending" logging in an area the size of Germany? Not that anyone in the "mainstream" media would give a damn anyway since it would require more effort than just regurgitating a corporate or government press release.....

Regards, Petr

If anyone's interested

In case anyone who reads this is interested, an ESOP is an Employee Stock Ownership Program, where workers own stocks in the corporation that employs them.

Gang Green's Complete Fabrications are The Crux of the Matter

Thanks for not answering the crucial questions ASR: Who are you? And why was the full agreement not released? Not that I expect a real answer at this stage...

The central point is that Gang Green promoted this deal as the biggest conservation achievement in the history of the universe by claiming that logging was "suspended" in an area twice the size of Germany. Having been primed with years of media releases promoted at great expense by Pew/CBI/Gang Green, the mainstream media lapped this BS up without checking their facts by asking for the text of the full agreement

As Dawn's article and our maps/graphics point out, the claim that logging is "suspended" in an area twice the size of Germany is a complete fabrication. Any other aspects of the deal which concern the wish list of future "aspirations" (protected areas, EBM, blah, blah, blah)are completely irrelevant.

And it's also completely irrelevant to Dawn's central argument whether or not she correctly interpreted the whole deal or only the deferrals as expiring in 2012.

Regards, Petr

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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