PREMIER Christy Clark on Monday affirmed her continued strong support of British Columbia’s innovative forestry sector at Delta’s StructureCraft.
“B.C.’s forestry industry has the potential to change the world,” said Premier Clark, “Cities around the world are not only building new iconic public spaces and structures using B.C. wood, they’re using B.C. expertise to make it happen.”
StructureCraft, which designed the iconic Richmond Olympic Oval, Surrey’s Central City, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, is currently working on signature projects in Minneapolis, Portland, and Calgary.
To support companies like StructureCraft and help create more jobs, the provincial government recently invested $7.7 million to promote the use of B.C. wood, advance wood building systems and products, and expand global markets.
The Liberals said that Clark and they are the only party and leader that will stand up for BC forest workers and secure a fair softwood lumber agreement.
They said that for 14 years, B.C. has worked to reduce our reliance on the U.S. market – a strategy that has paid dividends. Exports to China have increased 2,000 per cent, and the provincial government is pursuing a similar strategy in India, as well as making great progress in Korea and Japan.
And since the BC Jobs Plan was launched in 2011, B.C. has gained 9,825 new jobs in the forest sector – an increase of 17% and the best record in Canada, the Liberals claimed.
The Liberals launched an attack on the BC Greens and BC NDP, saying that they “have no plan for forestry, and would instead hike taxes, kill thousands of jobs, and push families to the brink – but wait, it gets worse.
“Horgan has already written off B.C.’s forestry sector, saying “good luck with that” to negotiating a fair deal – but wait, it gets even worse.
“Horgan then defended United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard’s decision to stand with Donald Trump as the President attacked Canadian workers – and even accepted the pen as a souvenir. When push came to shove, John Horgan chose his big U.S. donors over British Columbians. No wonder, since his two most senior campaign officials are directly on the U.S.-based union’s payroll.
“It’s the same Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers that supported a U.S. trade action against U.S.-based Catalyst Paper in 2015 – the same year John Horgan made Leo Gerard an honorary lifetime member of the BC NDP.
“And the Steelworkers even petitioned the U.S. government to slap a 50% tariff on Canadian aluminum – a scheme that, if successful, would have killed 1,000 jobs at RioTintoAlcan in Kitimat.”
The Liberals said they are the only party with a plan to support the 60,000 British Columbians and 140 communities that depend on forestry:
• Work with their federal partners to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with the United States, and support workers, communities, and forest companies as they fight the impacts of unfair countervailing and anti-dumping duties.
• Continue their proven strategy to expand markets in Asia, including annual trade missions, and invest another $5 million per year to grow additional markets in China and India
• Promote more new tall wood building construction, and push other jurisdictions to allow them in building codes
• Invest $9 million to support the implementation of the Forest Carbon Initiative.
• Diversify our product range by supporting non-traditional uses of wood and wood-fibre through the Wood First program.
• Increase wood fibre utilization in B.C.’s interior by one million cubic metres by the end of 2018, supporting 500 jobs.
• Enhance the health and resilience of forests by planting more seedlings under the Forests for Tomorrow Program.