PRINCE GEORGE (September 17, 2019) – Forestry workers wishing to continue working in the industry can take little comfort in today’s announcement by John Horgan and the NDP, who remain absent on this file with no plan to help the industry succeed through this crisis.
“The vast majority of people in forest-dependent communities want and need to work, but there was nothing announced today to help the industry return to a healthy and competitive position,” says BC Liberal Forestry Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “Clearly, the NDP does not see its own role in the crisis by making B.C. the least competitive jurisdiction in North America to do business. High taxes and a refusal to make stumpage fees more consistent with current market values is pricing B.C. out of reach. It appears John Horgan and the NDP would rather focus on early retirement and getting people out of the forestry sector than taking meaningful action to help them succeed today.”
Despite the BC Liberals presenting a comprehensive five-point recovery plan in June, the NDP waited until the country was in the middle of a federal election before finally deciding to act. Today’s announcement only references communities in the Interior, ignoring coastal communities like Surrey, Maple Ridge and others on Vancouver Island that have also been hard hit by mill closures and indefinite curtailments.
“It appears the NDP is throwing in the towel and conceding that B.C. has too many mills and the industry needs to be downsized,” says Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris. “I know for a fact that there are plenty of people in communities like Mackenzie who would rather have long-term job stability rather than simply being shown the exit. Today’s announcement does nothing to drive down costs to help existing producers stay competitive and keep workers working.”
BELOW: BC Liberal Five-Point Forestry Sector Plan and an updated Forestry Sector in Crisis backgrounder