Standing Up for Forestry
Ben Parfitt-Resource Analyst with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives addresses forum – photo 250News
Prince George, B.C. – About 60 people were on hand at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George last night for the first in a series of public forums on forestry.
Organized by the Stand Up for the North Committee, the forums focus is on the challenges for forestry. With the annual allowable cut expected to be reduced significantly and the pending duties as a result of the action launched by the United States , there are serious concerns about the impacts on mills, forestry workers and their communities.
Stand Up for the North spokesperson Peter Ewart asked if forest policy in B.C. is “petrified”. Ewart is a supporter of the appurtenancy policy which required Forest License holders to process wood in the area where it was harvested.
That policy was eliminated in 2003, “Since then dozens of mills have closed, logs shipped out” said Ewart. He also pointed to the profits being made off B.C. forests, only to have those companies use the profits to buy American operations. He labelled that move as the ‘Lemon squeeze’ where the juice is squeezed out of B.C. only to make lemonade somewhere else “often with the latest technology.”
“One thing is clear” said Ewart, “We need a new direction for the economy”. He said there is a movement underway, one of people and communities who want more say in economic decisions. He says this is not a left versus right issue, it’s an issue of empowerment.
Ben Parfitt, Resource Analyst with the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives put forth a ten point plan to revive forestry. First and foremost, he calls for a review of logging rates in the province and to set those rates that will ensure sustainability. He also called for a full comprehensive review on where fibre from this province is coming from and moving to. He also calls for an opportunity for communities that are forestry dependent, to have more say in the development of forestry policy including the benefits of forests for recreation.
Parfitt called for an immediate ban on raw log exports from old growth forests and that the Province be pressed to come up with incentives to increase value added manufacturing.
He says there should also be a competition review, as in the Interior, he says three companies control 61% of all logs that are made into lumber.
The Prince George session was one of several to be held in the region, with the next session set for this evening in Mackenzie at 7 pm at the Mackenzie recreation Centre.