Richard Kemick talked a lot about how we need to invest more in tourism and ramp down the forestry industry in his article “Merry Christmas Mr. Irving”. At one point he mentions, “Having a vibrant and unique ecosystem allows for the establishment of the financially lucrative industry of tourism, an industry that regenerates a lot faster than hardwood.” This just isn’t true. The forestry industry in New Brunswick makes up 5.1% of the total GDP and that was only in 2010. This is compared to last year where the tourism industry made up 3.2% of the total GDP, and this includes everything tourism related in New Brunswick. Let’s also be honest here, the majority of Maritime tourism income arrives from the cities and coastal areas, not from its forests. When people come to Maritimes they want to see the Hopewell Rocks, Peggy’s Cove and Parlee Beach.
I’ll concede the point that yes; the Irving’s own a huge amount of New Brunswick and because of that holds a lot of sway with the provincial government. At the same time though Irving creates many jobs that would not be here if it wasn’t for the petroleum and forestry industry.
Lastly, nowhere in this article does it mention that Irving replants the trees it cuts down. It almost seems that it cuts down the trees and leaves. Thirty million trees are put back into the ground every year. There is not a finite amount of trees because they are constantly being cut down and replanted in a cycle. This creates even more jobs in New Brunswick, especially for students. I myself started tree planting when I could find no jobs elsewhere, including the tourism industry.
So my question is; would you rather see the forestry sector downsized and see more New Brunswick families live in poverty? Or do you want to keep one of the only economically viable industries going, creating more jobs and bringing money into New Brunswick? The ramping down of the forestry industry will only add to “ the annual migration of the majestic twenty-somethings fleeing the province”.