Privatizing our forests

The government has chosen to ignore this reality and appears intent on getting the Burns Lake mill rebuilt at any cost.

Although the timber supply does not exist to allow the Burns Lake sawmill to be rebuilt without negatively affecting other mills, communities, and jobs on Highway 16, the government has chosen to ignore this reality and appears intent on getting the Burns Lake mill rebuilt at any cost.

“Any cost” includes the commitment to introduce legislation this spring that will enable Cabinet to give Hampton Affiliates, an American company, exclusive rights over specific areas of our public forests in the Lakes Timber Supply Area in a manner that will open the door to the broad-scale privatization of our public forests.

In their dying days, the BC Liberals will introduce enabling legislation that will allow politicians to give forest companies exclusive rights over our public forests without the checks and balances of governing laws or regulations, or the guaranteed scrutiny of a transparent public process. The Social Credit Party attempted a similar “rollover” of replaceable volume-based licenses to area-based tenures in 1988. The NDP Forest Critic at the time dubbed the legislation “privatization on a massive scale,” and it was squashed by significant public backlash.

Twenty-five years later, our forests are under assault by pests, disease, and fire. We have an appallingly weak forest inventory. And only a few large companies now hold replaceable volume-based timber licenses. Yet with the BC Liberal Party on the verge of losing the May election, they’re going to ram legislation through the BC Legislature that will do what Social Credit could not. As last summer’s Timber Supply Committee found out, the social licence still doesn’t exist to support the wholesale rollover of renewable forest licenses to area-based tenures. That’s why they did not recommend this action. Instead, it gave some cautionary provisos to government for consideration “if conversion to more area-based tenures is desirable.”

I plan to oppose this legislation when it is introduced this spring. Please visit www.bobsimpsonmla.ca to learn more about the significant implications of this change. Then, decide for yourself whether it ought to be supported or opposed.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

HAPHAZARD HISTORY: Ox team freighters play important role in Cariboo Gold Rush

The Cariboo Wagon Road was to provide a direct and dependable route

Williams Lake-filmed ‘Because We Are Girls’ to be streamed free on NFB website

Acclaimed movie among seven documentaries to debut at NFB.ca in July

Traffic violators caught and charged by RCMP throughout June

Canim Lake the scene of many, thankfully, false alarms this month

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read