Premier John Horgan visits West Fraser sawmill in Quesnel on tour of B.C. Interior communities, Jan. 20, 2020. (B.C. government)

Premier John Horgan visits West Fraser sawmill in Quesnel on tour of B.C. Interior communities, Jan. 20, 2020. (B.C. government)

John Horgan calls for end to ‘high-grading’ B.C. forests

Premier speaks to resource industry forum in Prince George

Premier John Horgan promoted his long-term strategy for the struggling B.C. forest industry in Prince George Wednesday, saying the province has to get out of a “boom and bust economy” that rises and falls with lumber prices.

Speaking to more than 1,000 community and industry leaders at the annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum Prince George, Horgan noted his long-term strategy to increase forest jobs began this week with the first of a series of round-table meetings with community and industry representatives in Mackenzie, one of the communities hardest hit by the current downturn.

“We’re going to be in other communities, Quesnel, Vanderhoof, wherever we can go to bring people together to find a way forward in forestry,” Horgan told reporters before his speech to the forum. “Prices are starting to come up. In a boom-and-bust economy, you need to have high prices, but that’s not the beginning and the end. We need to make sure that we’re always preparing for those down times by ensuring that we’re not just harvesting to get the forest down, we’re harvesting to get jobs in communities.”

Horgan acknowledged that government stumpage on Crown timber did not keep up with the rapid fall in lumber prices in 2019, but it has been sharply reduced for 2020. He said he is attempting to move away from a long tradition of logging for volume.

RELATED: Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

RELATED: B.C. delays new wood waste penalties in coastal crisis

“It’s about a value in the British Columbia forest sector that was cultivated by Social Credit, by New Democrats, by Liberals, and that was to just harvest as much volume as you can, when you can,” Horgan said. “If we’re high-grading our forests to catch the market, that may be good for the short term, but the long-term view for the forest industry needs to be a long-term view. And that involves communities.”

The meetings were announced last spring as Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson were faced with a wave of sawmill shutdowns across the B.C. Interior, due to slumping prices, log costs and continued steep tariffs imposed by the U.S. government on Canadian softwood imports.

In December, Donaldson announced that new coastal log export fees were delayed for six months, and a program to reduce wood behind in coastal logging was also eased to reflect cost data from the industry on recovering more wood.

Logging has shut down across much of the B.C. coast and Vancouver Island, due to costs and a seven-month strike by the United Steelworkers against Western Forest Products.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureforestry

Just Posted

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of May 31

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read