Oct 05 2010
HALIFAX – The Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia deserves to have a meeting with the Natural Resources Minister to provide their input for the Natural Resources Strategy, not just representatives from the Department, according to Progressive Conservative MLAs, Alfie MacLeod and Keith Bain.
“The Christmas Tree Council has been trying to get a meeting with Natural Resources Minister, John MacDonell, to discuss their concerns and provide their input for the Strategy but he has been unable to meet with them,” said MacLeod, the Natural Resources critic. “While I appreciate the Minister’s schedule is demanding, the Council has a large membership and contributes a lot to the Nova Scotia economy. I think they deserve his direct attention.”
The Council was able to secure a meeting with representatives from the Department of Natural Resources for Thursday, October 7.
However, in the absence of a meeting with Minister MacDonell, the Progressive Conservative Caucus has requested the Council be permitted to make a presentation at the next meeting of the Economic Development Committee.
“I sent a letter to Economic Development Committee Chair, Pam Birdsall, requesting the Council be permitted to offer their input for the Natural Resources Strategy at our next meeting,” said Bain, Caucus Chair and Economic Development Committee member. “I think their concerns should be heard by elected representatives and this will give them the opportunity to have the attention of nine MLAs, including five government MLAs.”
The Council first contacted Minister MacDonell in July to try to secure a meeting and with fall harvest season fast approaching, time is running out for meaningful dialogue to occur.
“Fall harvest is an extremely busy time of year for the Christmas tree industry and unless the Council is afforded the opportunity to have their say soon, they will not be able to take time away from production until 2011,” said MacLeod.
“This is an important stakeholder group that generates approximately $30-million into the Nova Scotia economy annually, employs 400 workers full-time, and creates about 2000 seasonal jobs,” said Bain. “If they cannot have the ear of the Minister, we can at least allow them to speak to the Economic Development Committee.”