Woodlot owners have nothing to fear in bill: province

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At Charlie Parker’s office in Pictou West, calls have been coming in from woodlot owners concerned about a private member’s bill that they fear would hurt their industry.

Staff at the office say they would like people to know they have nothing to fear.

The NDP government issued a release Monday saying it does not intend to move forward with Private Members Bill 161, the Natural Resources Accountability Act.

“There was never any intention by government to move forward with Bill 161. It was a private member’s bill,” said Gary Ramey, MLA for Lunenburg West. “One of our top priorities as a government has been working towards a successful and sustainable forestry industry and we would never move forward with something that didn’t fit well within that plan.”

Bill 161 was introduced as a private member’s bill, meaning it was not a piece of legislation that came forward from the NDP government. All MLAs have the ability to propose a piece of legislation they feel represents the interests of their constituents. Like any other piece of legislation, it must go through several readings in the legislature and receive the support of the House before it can be enacted.

“I am disappointed that Bill 161 has been misquoted, which understandably caused great concern, ” said Michele Raymond, MLA for Halifax Atlantic, who introduced the legislation in December 2012. “In bringing forward this legislation my intention was to ensure that if permits are required for an activity involving natural resources or Crown (public) land, copies must be publicly available so all citizens have timely assurance that the public interest is being upheld. However, I fully respect government's decision not to move forward with it."

Geographic location: Pictou West, Lunenburg West

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