A peace plan that promises something for everyone

Oct 01, 2008 | 06:17 AM |

A glass half empty or half full? There is reason for optimism that the latter will be true for Ontario miners after the provincial government recently unveiled a plan to permanently protect half of its massive boreal forest, because the ruling Liberal Party also has promised to revamp the antiquated Ontario Mining Act, which dates back to 1873 and has long been criticized by both mining companies and aboriginal groups alike for its lack of modern sensibilities.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has laid out a plan that would permanently preserve at least 50 percent—some 87,000 square miles, or an area about half the size of California—of the province's gigantic Northern Boreal zone for tourism and aboriginal use.

The region as a whole—almost 175,000 square miles—makes up about 43 percent of the province's land mass and is considered an integral carbon sink. About 97 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are stored in the area, which absorbs another 12.5 billion tonnes each year. More than 200 sensitive species of animals—from monarch butterflies to woodland caribou and polar bears—make their home there.....

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