I am issuing a challenge to all of the interest groups and individuals who care about the use of Ontario’s public lands. I am challenging them to demonstrate leadership.
Ontario is blessed with an abundance of natural wealth—open spaces, lakes, rivers, forests, and wilderness. Much of these resources are found on the Crown land that covers 46 million hectares of Ontario. This land provides habitat for plants and animals, parks for recreation and protection, and an economic base for Ontario residents who rely on natural resources for their livelihood.
“Lands for Life” is a broad public conversation about the future of our public lands. “Lands for Life” is lead by people committed to Ontario’s future and committed to having this process work. It is time now to resolve the old conflicts about public land use. “Lands for Life” is the right process to find the solution.
The “Lands for Life” round tables, the initial stage of public consultation, have exposed many conflicting and often predictable positions. Broad public discussion often begins this way but arguments and inflexibility will not build a consensus.
To plan the future of our public lands, we must set aside narrow self-interest and listen to the needs of others. I understand that it is not easy to set aside, even for a moment, a long held opinion. However, I believe it is essential that we make the extraordinary effort to be truly generous in our concern, not just for the future of the land, but also for the people who may not share our opinion.
That is leadership. Leadership that will provide wisdom and generate consensus. Leadership that can provide for the sound stewardship of our land. Leadership that will map our future.
My challenge to the interest groups and individuals engaged in the “Lands for Life” process is to demonstrate this magnitude of leadership. We all need to help the round tables draft sound recommendations. We all need to be part of the solution.
John C. Snobelen,
minister, Natural Resources