Monday, April 09, 2007

Raw log exports

If you're still reading after that enticing headline, I'd like to bring you this story from my hometown paper, the Comox Valley Record. It makes no sense to me that we continue shipping raw logs outside the country when they could be processed here, creating more jobs. Much of the Canadian economy is still resource-dependant, and we should be ensuring we derive maximum value from those resources.

MP calls on feds to take action

By Record Staff

Apr 06 2007

In light of the layoff of workers at TimberWest’s Elk Falls mill, Vancouver Island North NDP MP Catherine Bell is calling on the federal government to take immediate action to help protect forestry worker jobs.

“I am asking the federal government to wake up and act now to protect the jobs at Elk Falls and everywhere else in B.C. where the export of raw logs is taking jobs away from workers and causing undue suffering for families and communities” said Bell in a press release.

“Since I was elected a year ago I have heard from people in Campbell River, Courtenay, Port Hardy, everywhere in the riding really — it just doesn’t make sense to them that so many logs are being cut and yet there are less and less jobs being derived from processing that wood,” said Bell.

She said that the explanation that Elk Falls mill has to close because it can’t find logs is a difficult one for the public to swallow.

“The average person watching the logs go by on trucks can’t tell where they were cut, on private federally regulated land or on public provincially regulated land, they just see a lot of logs leaving their community.

“And they ask, how can it be that a mill in Campbell River has to close because it can’t get logs? It’s a good question, and I am demanding on their behalf, that the government provide a good answer.”


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The Rat said...

“I am asking the federal government to wake up and act now to protect the jobs at Elk Falls and everywhere else in B.C. "

It's about job protection, correct? And not at all about who pays more for the logs, right? It's not like you're suggesting the log harvester subsidize the mill by selling the logs at a lower price than he could get elsewhere. Or is it?

Jeff, do you believe in the goals of NAFTA? Or do you still vote Liberal despite the broken promise to scrap NAFTA? You can't have this one both ways, save local jobs with protectionism and then cry foul when the US does the same.

Oliver said...

Actually, as an ex-forestry worker, I got so riled up about this a few years ago I wrote Mr. Campbell.

He actually wrote back. (Or one of his staffers).

His defence was 1. He didn't start it (but raw log exports did increase on his watch), and 2. we don't have the mills to process the wood anyway, so if he banned them, then all the harvesters would be out of work.

Mostly BS, and someone creative could come up with something to encourage the growth of secondary industry, but at least it was an answer.