By Julee Boan
First Published in the Chronicle Journal Nov 27, 2017
In an era of “alt facts,” perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised with the content on the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) new website, “cariboufacts.” It was designed to “inform” forest industry workers of the current state of caribou science and motivate them to write letters to the federal government to protect their interests. Their argument? Recovery planning for boreal caribou is moving ahead without enough information.
While it isn’t clear if the website caught the attention of forest industry workers, it certainly caught the attention of scientists. In a fairly unprecedented move, some of the most prominent caribou scientists in Canada submitted a point-by-point rebuttal of FPAC’s website. While it now appears FPAC has since made changes to their website (the sufficiency of which have yet to be determined), the damage is already done. Forestry workers who submitted letters to government did so with misleading, and in some cases, incorrect information.