The B.C. Liberal government has introduced Bill 8 that, if passed, would allow forest corporations to convert their volume-based licenses to area-based licenses (TFLs) without adequate public consultation. This plan needs widespread opposition. Here is an explanation about the proposed legislation from Anthony Britneff, a retired forester who was a senior professional with the B.C. forest service…
…For example, a corporation may apply to the government for a TFL, notify (not consult with) the public asking for feedback within a short period of time, and, then, the corporation reports back to government telling it what it heard from the public.
This legislation is TFL-rollover for the benefit of corporations at the expense of First Nations and communities at the discretion of Cabinet with no quid pro quo for the public (e.g., 30% takeback of volume; upgrade to existing mills, building of a new mill, etc)). Also there is no requirement that timber from the TFL be tied to and directed to local mills for local employment. First Nations and communities do not have sufficient licences to rollover to TFLs.
Having cut back budgets by 52% for forests, parks and environment and consequently having rendered dysfunctional the management of renewable resources, this government now implements the final cut and privatizes the forests under the guise of area-based management, which they claim is better than volume-based management.
I remember when the Forest Industry was a part of our cultural identity here in BC. It was in my hometown. There was a used logging truck in my front yard, growing up. My brothers first job was at a mill. Five generations of my family worked the coastal forests. All Sooke Days celebrated Logger Sports and the centre of town featured a carved High Rigger atop of a spar tree. Then that all dried up and blew away, like some forgotten dream as the industry amalgamated into these multinationals. Timberwest. Island Timberlands (a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, with head offices in Toronto and New York, pending a sale of shares to China Investment Corporation. Remember Brascan? Same people. BAM.
This industry has always been corrupt. One could argue that this Country has always been corrupt. Based on the British Colonization Model. From the nation building exercise that was the Railroad, those Right of Ways afforded them were the basis of our downfall. The lands afforded to these companies were a part of the public trust. Later to be privatised to Forest Companies. Gradually and with stealth, the social contract of community jobs and benefits was eroded. Clauses got erased. Mills closed and jobs were replaced by fellerbunchers and contractors and logs de-graded from a 95 year cycle down to a 35 year cycle. Regulation has been strangled with regards to replanting and retention and regeneration, the Forest Service defunded to the point of redundancy. Then they locked us out of the woods. Built gates and decommissioned roads. They sold out our rights with NAFTA and shipped our raw logs to China.
Coastal temperate species like red cedar, fir, hemlock and spruce count their lifecycles in the hundreds, even thousands of years. Governments, sadly, seem to only be able to count in 4 year cycles.
How are we going to explain this to our great grandchildren?
Update: Edited for a factual correction. I originally wrote that Sinopec wanted to buy into Island Timberlands. As was pointed out in the comments, it was actually China Investment Corporation, a State owned Hedge Fund. Also edited for spelling.