BC Liberals said on Monday that Premier John Horgan and the NDP’s ill-advised Bill 22 puts ideology ahead of what’s best for the hard-working B.C. families who depend heavily on the forestry sector by creating division within forestry-dependent communities. These measures mean B.C. will risk losing high-paying forestry jobs to the United States.
“John Horgan and the NDP aren’t concerned about the forestry sector because none of their MLAs live in forestry-dependent communities,” said BC Liberal Forestry Critic John Rustad. “Horgan’s ideological thinking will lead to expropriation of tenure without compensation, destroy confidence in the forest industry and ultimately devastate forestry-dependent communities.”
Horgan and the NDP have already lost more than 3,000 jobs on their watch. Rather than working with the sector, communities and First Nations, Horgan is trying to convince these stakeholders that they will benefit from this bill even though he knows that’s not the case, Rustad said.
“With 40 per cent of the 90,000 direct and indirect forestry jobs in the Lower Mainland, this is not a rural versus urban issue— this is a B.C. issue,” added Rustad. “We need policies and laws that address the immediate and long-term viability of a sector that has been the backbone of our province for 200 years.”
Rustad said that the industry is currently facing serious economic challenges with the highest production costs in North America, the continued impacts of the mountain pine beetle, a housing market slowdown and the ongoing softwood lumber dispute.
If passed, Bill 22 threatens tenure for current holders— effectively ripping up existing contracts and risking mill closures, job losses and legal disputes with forest companies— none of which is good news for hard-working British Columbians in the industry and the communities that rely on those jobs.
“Yet again John Horgan’s approach to rural issues is to make unilateral decisions without engaging the very same communities that will be impacted,” added Rustad. “The BC Liberals are calling on Horgan to delay these changes and begin immediate consultations with the sector, communities and First Nations on how to best move forward.”
The BC Liberals said they will continue to fight against Horgan’s divisive policy agenda and stand up for hard-working British Columbians and the jobs their families depend on.