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October 28, 2017 2:29 am

A Billion Dollar Question: Where’s the Pine Beetle Funding?

Thursday, September 17, 2015 @ 3:47 AM

Prince George, B.C. – It’s day four of our special election feature examining where northern candidates stand on the issues facing their region.

Today’s question: During the 2006 federal election campaign, Stephen Harper promised $1 billion for communities affected by the mountain pine beetle crisis if elected yet only $200 million has been delivered since his election. How will you address that if elected? (answers in alphabetical order).

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies:

Elizabeth Biggar, The Green Party: Yet another Harper lie. I would continue on with our platform and vision of transitioning our forestry industry into a renewable industry with green technology and infrastructure, with the hope that one day British Columbia can practice sustainable logging with our second growth forests and never again cut down old growth forest.

Todd Keller, Libertarian Party of Canada: Harper cannot deliver because Harper has indebted the country far too far now! I would back out of those kinds of fiscal promises of “helicopter drop funds” and let industry solve these kinds of problems. They know what’s best for their own industry, they should put forward a proposal to solve the problem, we’ll go from there.

Matt Shaw, Liberal Party: I will work tirelessly and forcefully to advocate for funds that will promote economic diversification in Prince George and the North. We’re not always going to have a constant and plentiful timber supply close to mills, and we need to begin preparing for this eventuality in earnest. The mountain pine beetle changed the balance of sustainability with regard to the timber supply, and we need a major infusion of money in our region to adapt to a different set of economic circumstances than the ones we have known over the last several decades.

*Note Conservative incumbent Bob Zimmer and NDP challenger Kathi Dickie in the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding declined the opportunity to respond.

Cariboo-Prince George:

Tracy Calogheros, Liberal Party: I have been researching this in consultation with Mayors in the riding. I remember this pledge, and I cannot see where this promise has been fulfilled. I will champion this issue, seeking that the promise be fulfilled in a fashion that respects the expectations of residents and municipalities. One possibility is that we advance this money towards already announced programs in green jobs and technology, research and development, working as a coalition of municipalities and ridings (for this issue affects areas beyond Cariboo-Prince George). I believe this is an ideal opportunity to exercise our regional voice to obtain a solution that benefits the entire north. Clearly Mr. Harper has no intention of making good on this promise, and the missing $800 million is not in his, or any other Party’s, existing platform. With the economy in the fragile state that it is, we will have to work within the existing programs announced, seeking redress for this unpaid debt. I believe that there is a case to be made, one which I am eager to press. I also believe that there are sufficient funds in new program funding announcements to bring these dollars into the region, in the spirit in which they were intended, over several years.
Sheldon Clare, Independent: A campaign promise made nine years ago that remains unfulfilled is one to discuss with those who made it. I would be happy to bring a mailbag full of letters and deliver it by hand to Stephen Harper if the electorate is so inclined as to write those letters.

Adam De Kroon, Christian Heritage Party: I would consult with experts on the best way the federal government can help communities tackle the issue of mountain pine beetles. With the results of those discussions I would then know what is needed and how much money would need to be committed. I would then work to make the appropriate funding a reality.

Trent Derrick, NDP: Conservatives have a long record of making funding promises and then not fulfilling their commitments. We now know that the money never left Ottawa and it was just for a photo op. After nearly a decade of Conservative Government in Ottawa and over two decades of our riding having a Conservative MP, Canada and Cariboo-Prince George is ready for change.
We know our forests have changed. The NDP will bring a federal government ready to mitigate these challenges. The NDP is committed to fostering economic diversification for communities hit hard by the destruction of the mountain pine beetle. The NDP has an ambitious plan to invest in local infrastructure in every Canadian community by increasing transfers through the existing Gas Tax Fund. This will create jobs and economic development in our communities sustainably to cut Canada’s infrastructure deficit. We will invest in value-added sectors of our economy to support and promote forestry products in Canada and abroad. We will reduce the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% to support the businesses that are the backbone of our regional economy.

Todd Doherty, Conservative Party: With the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our government has strongly supported the forestry sector. We have provided assistance to the provinces, stakeholders and Communities across Canada in responding to the challenges posed by the mountain pine beetle. The facts are that the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program expired on March 31, 2010. The program provided needed assistance, for example to more than 80 First Nations and 26 non-First Nations communities to reduce the post-beetle forest fire threat.
Richard Jacques, The Green Party: I would reinstate investment in the mountain pine beetle crisis and direct funds towards active logging in the affected timber area; further, I would also accelerate the value added production in order to obtain the best value return to the local economy.

Tomorrow’s question: How would you propose to boost the economy in your riding? What would those changes be?


I think the liberal candidates came off best on this topic. We need MP’s that are going to be actively trying to get federal dollars spent in this region.

We use to have beehive burners burning all the bi-products in the mill. Now we have dozens of people employed hauling it as bio-fuel, hundreds of people employed in the pellet sector alone. The mill may not make more money sending it to a pellet plant, rather than a beehive burner, but the economy comes out the winner with the diversification.

Every time we add value to a split off bi-product we strengthen the whole economy and the whole value chain. This new value helps to lower the unit cost for everything else in the value chain subsidizing the whole process and associated infrastructure.

If we can make the value chain one where the 2×4 is not the end product, but rather just another split off bi-product in the process towards another end product, then I think that is the next step for lumber mills. Maybe some form of innovation into standardized prefab construction doing what the standardized container did to shipping. An IKEA of home or garage construction, possibly even low income apartment blocks.

If we have only one pie to distribute all the costs of society, the process, government, employees, and equipment and all else… then this is a burden to the limited slices available from the one pie. But if we can make that pie grow into 5-10 pies, then the cost allocations become spread out and fewer smaller slices are needed from each pie.

So how do we turn the economic process of a 2×4 into the economic process for co-gen, pellet plants, ethanol, furniture construction, home construction, fiber board, pli-wood plants, and all the other sectors that grow out of and invigorate a stud mill economy. How do we keep the fiber local and add value to it?

I wonder if one of the daily questions should be on physical education classes so that Zimmer has a topic he feels comfortable contributing to?

Maybe something related to the new sex education aspect that is now going to be taught by physical education teachers.

If Zimmer ignores the topic then we know he is completely disengaged from the election process. If he answers then one has to wonder why he is only able to comment on one topic.

As usual, the cons talk but say nothing

About pellets, if one uses pellets and lives near the border it is much cheaper to cross the line to buy Canadian made pellets even with the duty.


The Pine Beetle question is a **Red Herring**. Why is this question being asked to-day?. We had the 2006 election, the 2008 election and of course Harper was elected with a majority Government in 2011, so it would seem the voters were not overly concerned about this issue.

We know that the statement was made in 2006 (nine years ago) and that he program expired in 2010 (five years ago) So what’s the issue??

If we are going to go back in time to find something to ask questions about, then lets ask why the Liberals never cancelled the Free Trade Agreement with the US, and never cancelled the GST like they promised during an election.

Instead of looking at the $200 Million that we did receive as a positive, we cry about the money that was promised but not received. No one posting here has any idea what they would have done with the money even if they had received it. Its pretty obvious that the Government looked at this issue and decided to let the pine beetle program lapse, and decided to spend the money in another area. So that’s the way it goes.

The Federal Government did bring in legislation that taxed lumber exports at about 15% when the price of lumber dropped below $300.00 per thousand board feet (where it is now). This tax money is collected by the Federal Government and returned to the Provinces. Had they not convinced the Americans that this tax would protect their interests the USA would have imposed a duty on Canadian lumber and kept all the money. As it now stands this money is returned to the Provinces and in the case of BC has amounted to some $500 Million per year. So in that sense BC has already received over a Billion dollars in Federal money because of the beetle problem, only it came out of a different pot.

Lets try and stick to issues concerning the year 2015 and forward, and quit trying to find problems in the past.

Have a nice day.

*Lets try and stick to issues concerning the year 2015 and forward, and quit trying to find problems in the past.*

You are welcome to try to forget the past and pretend that nothing wrong was done. Of course you will have to include anything that was ever done wrong by the OTHER parties!

Well, the topic is: A Billion Dollar Question: Where’s the Pine Beetle Funding?

So, let me congratulate Trent Derrick, who called a spade a spade by stating what should be obvious to anyone who likes facts: *We now know that the money never left Ottawa and it was just for a photo op.*

It is not missing! It never left the coffers of the Harper Government!

Plain and simple yet another broken promise by a politician who cannot be trusted.

Palopu, I have to admire your BLIND loyalty to a party, and more specifically to a PM that has nothing but contempt for our country, our traditions, and our sense of personal responsibility!
It takes BLIND loyalty to support, and even defend someone that would so openly, and blatantly lie to Parliament, and to the Canadian People on more than one occasion. This is a man that would rather throw others under the bus than admit his own errors of judgement and call it a day.
It takes BLIND loyalty to defend, and deflect every scandal, and negative situation that has arisen over these last 9 years of REFORM government without ever admitting that even the REFORMERS can screw up!
Now before you jump all over me and call me a lefty…I am a member of the CPC, but will not in good conscience be voting for Todd in this election. In fact until our present PM is gone, I will never vote for a CPC candidate again!

Eagleone:-“So how do we turn the economic process of a 2×4 into the economic process for co-gen, pellet plants, ethanol, furniture construction, home construction, fiber board, pli-wood plants, and all the other sectors that grow out of and invigorate a stud mill economy. How do we keep the fiber local and add value to it?”
First of all, you have to define ‘value added’. Properly, it’s ‘any further process beyond the initial stages of any product’s manufacture that can return its costs plus an additional profit.’ If it can’t do that, where has the ‘value’ been ‘added’? And if it can do that, then why isn’t anyone doing it? It’s still supposed to be a free country, if you see the opportunities step up to the plate, present a business plan showing there’ll be profit enough to repay the funds you need, and trek off to see your friendly banker. If you don’t want to go that route, float a company and look for investors. But keep in mind that definition of value added. Because if it’s just a ‘make work’ project, with no chance of profit, you might as well just dig holes and then fill them in again.

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