Canada yet to respond to Japan’s invite to rejoin timber organization – National

The federal liberal government has yet to respond to a months-old invitation from Tokyo to rejoin Canada in a global environmental group that regulates the timber trade.

A July 2022 briefing note indicates that Japan has invited Ottawa to join the International Tropical Timber Organization.

The group works with producing and consuming countries to share knowledge on conservation practices and promote the sale of sustainable timber.

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The organization currently includes 37 timber exporters and 38 timber importers, including all other G7 countries.

Canada was one of the first signatories to the 1983 convention that created the organization, but Stephen Harper’s Conservative government withdrew it in 2013.

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In the same year, the Harper government withdrew Canada from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Trudeau government withdrew it in 2016.

However, Canada has not joined the Timber Organization for almost ten years now. Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund reports that tropical forest destruction is worsening in southern Africa and parts of Peru due to illegal and unsustainable logging.

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A briefing note prepared for International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan mentions Japan’s invitation to rejoin, but does not specify when it took place.

“Sustainable forest products, limiting deforestation and combating illegal logging are priorities for Canada,” said a July 2022 briefing note prepared ahead of a conference call with then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Takako Suzuki. read.

The document states that if Suzuki heeds Tokyo’s previous invitation, Canada should respond that it would “consider rejoining”, but that Canada’s rejoining would require a lengthy parliamentary accession process. It will be,” he advised Sajjan.

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Six months later, Natural Resources Canada said it “continues to actively consider whether to rejoin the treaty,” but did not elaborate on that process.

“The government strongly supports global efforts to promote sustainable forest management and halt deforestation,” spokesman Michael McDonald wrote in an email.

“Canada withdrew from the treaty in 2013 partly because it has no tropical forests,” McDonald wrote.

He noted that Canada has signed similar agreements, such as the Glasgow Summit Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

McDonald said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was unavailable for an interview.

The Conservative Party, Bloc Quebec, the NDP and the Green Party did not respond to requests for comment before the deadline.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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