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FRENCH CONNECTION: Ministers have work cut out for them

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone worked together
Diana French pens a weekly column for the Williams Lake Tribune. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Last Sunday I visited Scout Island, my favourite spot.

I was in a car facing the end of the lake. The ice had dark spots, and the snow had melted in many places.

I was thinking it wasn’t the usual January scene when I noticed a sign that said “Idle Free Zone. Turn engine off. Idling gets you nowhere.” Someone had written “Climate Change is normal” on the sign.

Well, maybe so, but we human beings are hurrying things along.

There’s been lots of newsworthy events already in 2023, some good, some not.

The announced down-time at Tolko’s Soda Creek mill is not good news.

It’s temporary, but since 2005, 35 sawmills in the Interior and nine at the coast have closed permanently along with about half of the coastal shake and shingle mills.

This is my usual rant. We are so dependent on the forest industry, but for years we’ve known it isn’t sustainable, that trees are being harvested faster than they can be replaced.

Add disastrous wildfires, insect attacks and climate change, and the future isn’t looking rosy for over 101,000 British Columbian forest workers. We need to find ways to protect the forests and replace jobs. I hope it’s a top priority for the Eby government.

The new Forests Minister, Bruce Ralston (former Energy minister), and Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, face a tough task.

Bowin Ma, head of the newly created Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Ministry could help.

Her job is to find ways to be ready for and to cope with the natural catastrophes that have been plaguing us. Forest companies and Opposition parties can help too.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone worked together. We can dream, can’t we?

Diana French is book author and former editor of the Williams Lake Tribune

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