I feel the need to respond to a letter appearing in the Prince George Citizen (Rob Mercereau, Logging practices aren’t sustainable) which shows a tremendous lack of empathy for thousands of forest workers who face the prospect of losing their livelihood.
To be clear, the Truck Loggers Association of B.C. share the belief that critical at-risk old growth should be protected. For a number of months, we have called for a collective vision for forestry that would ensure the livelihood of B.C. forest workers and resource communities while also addressing society’s expectations of B.C.’s forest-management. We asked for meaningful collaboration among all key stakeholders, including First Nations, community groups, licensees and non-government organizations – so decision-making would be informed with a true understanding of the issues and the consequences, to find a solution that works for everyone.
That’s why we were so disheartened to see the government’s announcement on old-growth deferrals which involves an area bigger than a “postage stamp,” as the letter writer suggests. In fact, it involves 2.6 million hectares, in addition to the 10 million hectares already protected because it falls outside of the timber supply area or within protected parks.
The government has set in motion an unprecedented level of uncertainty and concern among the thousands of hard-working men and women who face the prospect of losing their jobs without any information about training or support programs. Contractors want to work in an industry they have been trained in and created businesses in, but they too have yet to hear anything from government about what is next in terms of transition strategies or fair compensation.
While the time for real collaboration is well past due, there are still many options to potentially achieve success that works for all concerned. To not explore and work with those in forestry will inevitably lead to failed policies and consequential impacts to communities and people the government purports to support.
Executive Director, Truck Loggers Association of B.C.