REPORTING · 28th April 2011
Question 9 dealt with the raw log exports. The speaker said there were at least 60 logging trucks going to Prince Rupert. There were 3 sawmills closed in the riding and he wanted to know what they were going to do to stop this from taking work away from Canadians.
Nathan Cullen said the answer was twofold. It had to do with what Gordon Campbell did when he was in the Provincial Government: “Cranking out raw log exports that were allowed out of this province, he signed the death certificates for a bunch of Mills in the Northwest,” said Cullen.
“I talk to haulers and I have a bunch of them who are friends and you say: ‘would you rather go take those logs down to Kitimat or Prince Rupert and dump them in the ocean or would you rather take them to a local mill where you’re neighbour might be working,’ there is no question about it. They would rather be milling, working, doing something here,” said Cullen.
He said the export laws need to be changed in the country. He also pointed out a company which exports receives the same tax treatment as a company trying to process here in Canada. They are treated as if they were the same thing when they are not, as one is taking away the future. He suggested preferential tax treatment to companies who put raw materials through value added process here in Canada.
Maggie Braun agreed but did not see the other parties trying to get out of them. This was the cause which created the Canadian Action Party. She said there was a book about the creation of NAFTA which stated the people of Canada were not aware about what was signed as the economy would get sucked into America. She said it would take some time to convince other parties to do what is right for Canadian people but we could produce our own furniture and other products.
Rod Taylor said he was a Skeena Cellulose employee in Smithers until the plant was mismanaged by the government. They saw the best logs going west to be put on a boat. The removal of the appurtenance clauses would have kept local resources linked to create local jobs. He agreed with Cullen over control of resources.
Roger Benham questioned Ikea. How come a Swedish company is set up in BC to sell Swedish made furniture which could be made here. He deplored sending unprocessed resources. He said the problem was the multinational companies were calling the shots.
Clay Harmon spoke next. “I wonder if my opponent had asked the question of those loggers, ‘would you like to deliver those logs to Prince Rupert or would you rather park your truck and wonder how you’re going to feed your families,” said Harmon..
He was booed.
“The fact is that raw log exports as a result of that, nobody likes raw log exports, I don’t like it. The fact is, as a result of being able to do that, the infrastructure is here, the market is coming back, the loggers are here, the trucks are still working, the roads are still working, it just seems to me that while it’s not the best alternative by a long shot, it was an alternative and it preserved the industry from a very bad down turn in that economy,” said Harmon.
One man shouted out: “And the sawmill workers are on welfare.”
Kyle Warwick said they were in agreement, the raw log exports are much less valuable than value added work. The best way to create value added work was not in prohibition of raw logs but incentives to have value added work in the region. He suggested the Liberals Green Renovation tax credit as a solution and having products made from wood was better for the environment than shipping it across the world.