On the Northern Pulp Agreement with the Nova Scotia Government 9Jun2024

Guest Post by Helga Guderley

The last thing that we need is a secretive multinational corporation milking provincial subsidies while taking the last of our standing forests.

It was the pollution of Boat Harbour that led to the closure of the NP Mill in Pictou and is still costing Nova Scotians and especially the people of Pictou Landing First Nation dearly. “Once bitten twice shy” should apply says Helga Guderley

On May 23, 2024 we learned that the government reached a tentative agreement with Paper Excellence, owners of Northern Pulp, settling the dispute over lost profits from the closure of the Pictou mill and Paper Excellence’s $450 Million lawsuit against the province.

Many aspects are included in this agreement: the potential relocation of the mill to Liverpool, the province assuming the cost of the pensions for former mill workers and guaranteeing a 14% profit for the new mill. The total costs of this agreement are far from clear.We should be very concerned about this development. Paper Excellence is not a good corporate citizen. Jackson Wijaya, the “owner and founder” of Paper Excellence has refused to come before the federal Parliament’s Standing Committee on Natural Resources to answer questions about the corporate structure and ownership of Paper Excellence.

Paper Excellence is linked with Asia Pulp and Paper and Sinar Mar; both part of a vast corporate empire controlled by the Sino-Indonesian Widjaja family. This empire has a bad environmental and financial record, and is linked with deforestation in many parts of the world.

Paper Excellence controls a  significant amount of Canada’s forests. After a series of recent acquisitions, it now manages 22 million hectares of Canadian forest lands, an area four times that of Nova Scotia. That Jackson Wijaya refuses invitations to appear, even virtually, before a federal parliamentary committee is insulting and frightening. Although Paper Excellence is based in Vancouver, Wijaya stated that his international commitments were too extensive.

If the Nova Scotian government were unhappy with their actions, would Paper Excellence listen to us more? What pressure could we bring to bear on them? I feel that we should drop Paper Excellence like a hot potato.

The severe nutrient depletion of soils of SW Nova Scotia due to a combination of acid rain and naturally thin soils on resistant bedrock was recognized in the mid-2000s

The forests in southwestern Nova Scotia are at a crossroads. Between climate change, the ravages of decades of industrial logging, invasive insects (hemlock woolly adelgid, beech leaf miner, emerald ash borer) and acidic soils, our forests will not survive the extensive exploitation a new pulp mill would bring.

The last thing that we need is a secretive multinational corporation milking provincial subsidies while taking the last of our standing forests. Many sayings come to mind: but the polite “Once bitten twice shy” should apply.

I hope that many Nova Scotians take this serious situation to heart and contact our MLA’s, ministers and Premier Houston to express deep concerns about this agreement, as it would extend well beyond the mandate of this government and weigh down the tax papers and the lands of Nova Scotia for generations to come.


Paper Excellence settlement: The deal with the devil has been refinanced
Tim Bousquet in the Halifax Examiner May 24, 2024 “No matter what, Paper Excellence will get a 14% annual profit, guaranteed. In short, the deal with the devil was refinanced, extended 20 years out, and the public assumes all the additional costs.”

True costs of Nova Scotia settlement with Paper Excellence’s Northern Pulp remain unknown
Joan Baxter in the Halifax Examiner, May 23, 2024 “No community has suffered more because of the Pictou County pulp mill than Pictou Landing First Nation, which had to live for more than half a century with the toxic effluent from the mill that destroyed its precious “A’se’K” (meaning “the other room”) estuary, and with the stinking emissions from the mill itself on Abercrombie Point.”

– ‘Absolute disrespect’ and ‘a slap in the face’: Paper Excellence owner refuses to speak with Parliamentary committee
Joan Baxter in the Halifax Examiner Oct 10, 2023 “Jackson Wijaya, “founder and owner” of Paper Excellence, now Canada’s largest pulp and paper player and also the owner of the Northern Pulp mill in Nova Scotia, has once again snubbed the federal Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources.”

BDO Zone Initiative issues an “A-rating” for Southwest Nova Scotia as a location to develop “Bioeconomy Projects” 4Feb2024
Post on www.versicolor.ca/nstriad. “There is clearly a need and significant opportunities for use of the forest residuals, but also needed is a dose of realism about what is actually desirable and truly sustainable economically, ecologically and socially in SW Nova Scotia.”

& on this website:  nsforestnotes.ca/In the News/The Mill (NP)

Helga Guderley with anti-forest biomass petition at NS Legislature, Nov 1, 2016

About Helga

Helga Guderley moved to Boutiliers Point on St. Margaret’s Bay with her Nova Scotia-born husband in 2010 after retiring in 2010 from her position as professor of comparative physiology at Université Laval.  She became concerned about the impacts of  clearcutting on Crown lands across The Bay on soils, biodiversity and tourism and initiated a letter writing campaign and a petition that resulted in some significant restrictions on the clearcutting. In 2016 she initiated an online petition and later a paper petition asking Premier McNeil to stop using biomass for power generation; the public attention it mobilized led to the formation of the Healthy Forest Coalition which has become a major voice for improved forestry policies in Nova Scotia.



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