A fourth generation maple syrup producer accuses the Legault government of destroying this Quebec industrial flagship by leaving the field open to paper mills in our public forests.
“François Legault is a guy from the city, a guy from Montreal, who doesn’t know anything about it. He does not care. For him, it’s numbers and money. The state subsidizes this rampage, ”laments Jonathan Blais, producer of maple syrup and president of the Producers and Producers of Maple Syrup of Quebec (PPAQ) in the Eastern Townships.
In mid-December, the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP), Pierre Dufour, announced that he wanted to double wood harvests by 2080, which should benefit paper companies like Domtar, Resolute and Cascades, according to Jonathan Blais, who operates a 25,000 tap sugar bush.
“Provincial Aplaventrism”, ” backstore des forestières ”,“ second resident ”,“ aggressive towards our forest heritage ”… the words of the maple syrup producer towards the Legault government are not kind.
Even though 72% of world maple syrup production comes from Quebec and eleven million taps have been added over the past 20 years, maple syrup producers are thirsty for growth and have their eyes on public lands to grow.
What shocks the Estrie producer is that, in his region, the government has left barely 100 hectares of public forests, deep in the woods, to syrup producers on more than 5,000 hectares, he maintains. .
“They are going to enter hardwood with new types of more aggressive cuts with a high financial diameter. It’s downright rampage. It started in the Outaouais, in the Laurentians and in the Eastern Townships, we are starting to see it too, ”he regrets, watching maple trees become pulp of paper.
Fields of two by four
According to him, the forest and maple industries are able to work together in managing the forest responsibly, but they are not.
For Henri Jacob of Action Boréale, Jonathan’s case is classic.
” It is a scandal. No one understands why the government is doing two-by-four fields to please the industry rather than helping our maple syrup producers. We kill the cash cow, ”he goes so far as to say.
Joined by The newspaper, the CEO of the Quebec Forest Industry Council (CIFQ), Jean-François Samray, was surprised by the output of the producer. “There are sugar bushes in public forests. One does not prevent the other. It’s a storm in a glass of water, ”he insisted.
“I don’t know many people in the pulp and paper sector who will make paper with sugar maple,” he said, stung by the question.
–With the collaboration of Anne Caroline Desplanques and Charles Lecavalier
♦ In Quebec, more than 85% of the total production of barn syrup is exported. This sector alone generates 12,000 jobs and three-quarters of a billion in Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).