By Bob Brash, executive director
The TLA firmly believes there are progressive solutions out there, that enable the unique and world-class skills of our workforce, that won’t put 20,000 people out of work, decimate businesses, and harm communities. …What are the solutions? Well, there is no simple answer. But within the complexity there are some basic starting points:
- BC’s loggers, forest companies, and contract community have proven themselves repeatedly in their ability to adapt and be innovative.
- Harvesting strategies can be implemented to protect old-growth values while harvesting, and decisions don’t have to be yes or no in all areas.
- We need to strengthen the diversity of log and lumber flow in the forest sector through increased reallocation to First Nations and communities. And find a solution for the value-added industry.
- Any transition to a future state must be reasonable. Surely there is a 10 to 20-year transition strategy that doesn’t put so many people at risk for losing their livelihoods.
- We have to implement stumpage reform to encourage innovation, ensure harvesting rights of contractors and others are respected, and dedicate more funding to forest investment activities.
- And, we have to engage.
Government has the responsibility for setting broad goals and objectives, however, successful implementation lies in collaboration with those in the business, who know what will work and what will fail. Towards that objective, the TLA will work with others in the sector—vigorously, purposefully, and collaboratively—towards seeking those solutions over the next few months. This will mean finding the common ground that the majority of British Columbians can endorse as a reasonable path to success.
This will also mean, not challenging the government’s broad objectives but rather finding the means within those goalposts to move the sector forward. We’ve dealt with change forever, we’re very good at what we do, and we’re not afraid of engaging with anybody on these issues.