Bob Brash, Don Wright, Stewart Muir, Brian Menzies
The final Truck Loggers Association panel on modernizing BC’s forest policy was led-off by Stewart Muir of Resource Works. “At stake,” according to Muir, “is retaining the significant role the forest industry plays in BC’s economy but also the huge potential of the forest bioeconomy.” …In describing the origin of the technical panel that recommended the old growth deferrals, Muir referenced his recent article in TruckLoggerBC. An article informed by a Freedom of Information request. The key findings being that the forest industry was little involved and an external party (the Sierra Club) defined the public process to a great degree and the composition of the committee. …Muir noted the effectiveness of the ENGO “hybrid advocacy strategy”, which involves indirect pressure from negative messaging …and direct pressure on government officials.
Next up was Brian Menzies of the Independent Wood Processors Association of BC, who characterized his membership as “value-added wood product creators and innovators.” …According to Menzies, it was Premier Horgan’s stated vision on a forest industry focused more of high-value rather than high-volume manufacturing—that spurred his organization to engage supportively. …And then all of sudden this happened” exclaimed Menzies. …But what scares Menzies the most is that these so-called “potential deferrals” are impacting his members now, and supply is running out”. This is because more than 50% of their fibre input is from old growth forests …and the BC Timber Sales program immediately stopped any related-area timber sales. “We’re talking months before businesses start shutting down, not years from now.
Finally, Don Wright, former DM for Premier Horgan, said he believes the old growth and other policy changes occurred because “the forest industry has lost its social licence by not effectively making the case that it is essential to BC prosperity”. …According to Wright, BC is currently spending $25 billion more than it earns, financed by “selling off the right to reside in BC” …monies from the outside being brought in by real estate purchases and related consumption. “But this is living in a fool’s paradise,” according to Wright, “as it’s not sustainable”. It’s also where the forest industry has an opportunity to rebuild its social licence. “This is because the standard of living in a jurisdiction comes from the wages and net government revenue that its tradeable goods and services sector can afford to pay. …In BC, forestry represents 18% of this base.”