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REPORTING · 30th November 2009
Walter McFarlane
Recently, Eurocan Workers have forwarded some older CEP documents with detailed background information concerning the forestry crisis in BC. Not surprisingly, the problems begin in 2003. One document counted the jobs lost in BC since 2003 and even stated that in BC, there have been 75,000 forestry jobs lost in that time period.

The cause for this change is cited as the Black Liquor Tax Credit in the United States, Raw Log Exports, Wood Waste, Pine Beetle Kill and the ever Changing Forestry Practices.

In the United States, in 2006, an alternative fuel tax credit was created to taxpayers who blended taxable fuel with an alternative fuel to create a bio fuel. By blending .01 diesel with black liquor, a byproduct of the industry, they were able to cover 60% of their expenses. Still, not all of the facilties were able to meet the regulations.

The Canadian Conservative Government, in an attempt to spare jobs, made a counter offer to Canadian Mills funding $0.16 for every litre of black liquor produced in 2009. This money had to be invested in environmental projects over three years.

The Documents also speak about raw log exports, mostly to the United States. Exports have risen 75% since 2000 to 4.7 cubic metres a year. Some companies have closed their mills to become solely exporters of raw lumber. In addition, the closing of some of the sawmills have led to further exports, as some companies no longer have a place to go to to have their wood cut.

Of course, the BC Government once required companies who harvested logs to have them cut in BC. However, those clauses were taken away in 2003. To be able to export more logs, the harvesters have to find a buyer in BC first. Because there are few mills in operation, this becomes what the documents call: “A self fulfilling prophecy.”

17.5 million cubic metres has been logged and abandoned since 2002. This is the wood waste. Harvesters are supposed to make stumpage payments for the wasted wood. However, this only applies to wood harvested on public land, not private lands. On private lands, harvesters must report the number of logs harvested but not how much went to waste.

The final problem is the Mountain Pine Beetle Kill. The documents explain that too many trees are being harvested from the wrong areas to try and salvage the trees before they become unusable. Other areas are being logged of more than just pine trees and some times before the trees need another 20 years to develop.

Perhaps a part of the problem is the BC Government. The docmentation explains that they have done nothing and have managed to make things worse with their changes to practices. They have made things harder for the forest workers of BC. One document even explains that layoffs in the forestry sector have reduced accountability.

The documentation shows how the BC Forest Industry is in jeopardy and provides one solution. Have a meeting between the government and all interested parties relating to forestry. It just so happens that there is a petition to try to make such a meeting a reality.

Mary Murphy, CEP 298 President spoke about this petition at Kitimat City Council on November 23rd. She explained that so far, the CEP has been unsuccessful at getting the meeting that they have asked for so now they are looking for public support to get that meeting.

“We need to have all the appropriate players in the same room and have them, to disuss issues around this crisis and look for opportunities to save these industries. Through lobbying, CEP has not been successful at this and requests support for a petition to be signed by everyone to get all the key players to the table. Putting pressure on the government is the only way that this will happen. The Key players are federal and provincial governments, local unions need to be at the table and the industry. That’s the only way that we’re going to make a viable forest industry in BC and in Canada.

Petitions have been sent around the Sacred Circle to gain support from communities to try and make the industry viable again. Plenty have been distributed around Kitimat.
Secondly Leon
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 8th December 2009
You don't get away with making a statement and then asking me to check information that does not exist. That is your job. Nice try though.
Maybe you wrote a letter Leon..
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 7th December 2009
... but how does that prove that I was proud of importing chips from Alaska to SCI in Prince Rupert back in 1998 or any of the other comments you make. I don't ever recall talking about chips in this context with you and particularly boasting about buying from Alaska if there were local chips available. I think your twisting the facts and in any event why did we have two mills operating in Terrace as well as two pulp mills in the region? How is it that after 8 years of Liberal government in BC you try to hold me responsible for the loss of 10,000 jobs? That is BS.

The NDP cancelled Kemano II yes, but after Campbell announced it should be shut down. The NDP negotiated a Power for Jobs deal with Alcan and the Liberals appeared in court to say Alcan could sell all the power they wanted to. The Liberals pulled the pin on SCI and worse sold it back to the very people who caused its demise. The liberals changed forest policy and removed appurtenancy requirements and strict monitoring of practices. It was the liberals who increased raw log exports. Nice try, trying to pin that on me or the NDP or the 90's.

So as Dr. Phil keeps saying Leon, "How's that working out for you?"
comment
Comment by Leon Dumstrey -SooS on 5th December 2009
Sorry for the wrong date. it is Jan. 7.1998
Also Mr. Giesbrecht ck . My letter to the Sentinel.
Skeena Cellulose "CHIPS AHOY"
as well as the BCTV news Jan 2 1998.
Thank you
Leon
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 1st December 2009
If you can find any article or reference to me where I commented on the importing of Alaskan chips to BC while I was in office, I'm interested in the proof. Fact is that all of your last paragraph, aside from being completely wrong in reference to me. makes no sense.

If nothing was done in the 90's why do you think there was a "war in the woods" in 1990 under the Socreds. The environmental groups thought the government had not gone far enough in protecting forests on Vancouver Island to completely stop any forest activity? Why did the industry object when we doubled the amount of parkland or reduced the AAC to bring us closer to sustainable levels. It was those high profile clear cuts that caused most of the initiatives in Forest Renewal BC.

You might take a clearer look at what has been done since 2001 to make the forest industry less viable. Check out the "take back" of timber soon after the Liberals came to power. Then the loss of "appurtenancy" provisions that makes unlimited exports more profitable. Then check out the current waste in the forests because the government believes in the companies policing themselves.. Those clear cuts you are talking about were made prior to 1991. They were part of the NDP election platform.

Your facts are wrong, about as wrong as the year 1905 which would make me at least 130 years old by now. I know it was probably a typo but you get my point?

When I left office we had two pulp mills in the Northwest and two sawmills in Terrace. After Jan. 30th we will have none and you try to hold me responsible for the job losses of 10,000. I might ask you did your liberal vote in 2001 pay off for you?
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Comment by Leon Dumstrey -SooS on 30th November 2009
Good letter not enough of history and facts!

What is amiss in my opinion:
Demise of Forest Industry started more than 15 yr ago!!

Attacks on "Clear Cuts",that today no one takes photos of or writes about,and forest practice code,were not defended by the Government of the day(NDP Clark/Miller)

In 1998 Mr.Giesbrecht (MLA SKeena) was proud of import of chips from Alaska(being cheaper) for the Pr. Rupert Mill,which after over $600 mil band aids, rather tan repairs, collapsed,that created an domino effect of 10,000 jobs loss in PNW!

Thank you