VICTORIA (March 7, 2019) – For the second day in a row, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has dodged questions in the Legislature concerning the future of land tenure agreements and how the forest industry will be impacted by changes being contemplated by John Horgan and his government.
“We have given the NDP every opportunity to indicate what their plans are with respect to the renewal of land tenure agreements as they apply to the forestry industry,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. “This week the government launched a review of forestry in the Interior region without setting any terms of reference. Our concern is with the fact Minister Donaldson won’t answer questions about an issue that sits at the core of the forestry industry in British Columbia.”
“It appears the NDP don’t have a plan for how they intend to alter Crown land use agreements once they come up for renewal,” said Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes. “I directed the question of land tenure point-blank at the Premier and he simply deferred to Minister Donaldson, who in turn gave conflicting information. What kind of message does this send to an industry already facing a whole host of challenges including wood shortages, wildfires, beetle infestations and the ongoing softwood lumber dispute?”
“On more than one occasion John Horgan has indicated that the NDP intend to take the same approach to land tenure as it did with fish farms,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Critic John Rustad. “Forest companies are being left out in the cold without any consultation on the future of their industry— and without clear terms of reference for this review, it’s a recipe for disaster.”