THE BC Liberals said on Saturday that while Vancouver Island communities like Campbell River endured the longest forestry sector strike in history, BC NDP Leader John Horgan did nothing to step up and get workers back on the job and provide stability for families.
The lack of action wasn’t surprising, as under Horgan ignoring the problems facing British Columbia’s forestry sector has been the NDP’s default position, they added.
“We had the minister of forests say there was no crisis and the parliamentary secretary for forests say there were too many mills,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “The NDP simply threw in the towel and let forestry workers and forestry-dependent communities suffer on their own. That was the wrong approach and when we raised it in the Legislature John Horgan told Fraser-Nicola candidate Jackie Tegart to stop whining. Resource communities deserve better and under a BC Liberal government they will get it.”
Under Horgan and the NDP, 45 mills have either closed permanently or severely curtailed operations, which has directly impacted 10,000 workers.
“The impact of Horgan’s blasé attitude has been seen across the province, including in places like Maple Ridge and Surrey,” added Norm Facey, BC Liberal candidate for North Island. “The NDP’s only response has been to offer money for people to leave the industry while Horgan stole the money from the Rural Dividend Fund. The BC Liberals offered a five-point plan to help revitalize the industry, to keep people working in the industry and keep communities thriving. All we’ve got is silence from Horgan.”
A BC Liberal Government will:
- * Implement a more efficient, effective, and responsive market-pricing stumpage system to help keep our industry competitive.
- * Work with industry to modernize forest management practices and ensure BC’s forest industry is no longer the highest-cost producer in North America.
- * Aggressively work with the federal government to make real progress and reach a fair resolution to the softwood lumber dispute that works for BC.
- * Aggressively defend BC’s interests in softwood lumber trade issues.
- * Increase investments in silviculture to enhance the province’s tree-planting efforts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- * Introduce legislation to protect the working forest to provide increased certainty on the land base while protecting and enhancing environmental values.
- * Expedited approach to certify mass timber products for structural construction.
- * Support development of mass timber structural products
“We have a plan to restore confidence and rebuild British Columbia,” said Wilkinson. “We need to make sure all parts of our province, and all sectors — including the natural resource industries — can thrive and grow. We have a plan to make that happen, unlike John Horgan and the NDP.”