An edited version of this letter appeared recently in the Vancouver Sun online… here is the unedited version from Bobby Deepak, a reader of mine who is a lawyer in Prince George, as well as a concerned community member. Bobby poses some very hard questions for the still unelected Christy Clark, ones that I would ask Ms. Clark to respond to, and the opposition to ask on Bobby’s behalf while the Legislature is in session.
The Christy Clark Liberals have been on a photo op spree lately touting their “jobs plan”, but how does it help the PG area?
We’ve been devastated with job losses. Let’s look at some of the mill closures and the jobs that went with them: Clear Lake sawmill/finger-joint plant, Upper Fraser sawmill, NCP (never rebuilt), Rustads, Winton Global, Northstar Lumber, and Abitibi-Bowater paper mill – all closed. At the end of August 2011, our Northern neighbors in Dawson Creek were told of the indefinite closure of LP’s OSB operation. Most mills that are still open are not running at full capacity and hundreds of employees are laid off or on call.
The “China Effect” is not all that it is hyped up to be by the Liberals. Although China is keeping some mills open so far, it is not enough to open the mills that are already closed and China’s appetite for our raw logs is growing significantly. It is a devastating indictment of the Liberals’ forest policy. A more welcomed jobs plan for the PG area would have been one that keeps our jobs in BC by restricting raw log exports and one that promotes companies that create jobs in manufacturing, smelting, and processing.
In the coming years, jobs will require more skills and training, particularly in this region in forestry and in mining. We need more funding and a definitive plan for apprenticeship and skills training in the resource sector, especially with a call to open 8 new mines and expand 9 others. Who will be filling these positions? HD Mining near Tumbler Ridge has already received permission from HRSDC to hire 92 foreign workers for their proposed coal mine.
We need a plan that promotes our current forest products and diversifies products, not only markets. Although some work has been done in the past to promote pellet plants/bio-energy, which is welcomed, we would need approximately 10-15 pellet plants to make up one mill closure in terms of direct jobs.
The jury is still out on the Liberals’ jobs plan which I hope is successful because there are many people still hurting in the PG area. But measuring success will be difficult because the jobs plan offers no specific targets. Lastly, why wasn’t the Wood Innovation and Design Centre included in the jobs plan and, more importantly, what is it?
Sarbjit (Bobby) Deepak
Prince George, BC
8 thoughts on “More about the impact of raw log exports.. from my hometown.”
This letter poses a number of really good questions that are relevant not just to Prince George but all of BC and Canada. Especially about apprenticing and foreign workers.
The Alberta Tar Sands is bringing in workers construction workers from China. The official excuse is they can’t get Canadian workers. Well they would if they paid them a decent wage.
The construction workers don’t contribute anything to the Canadian economy and when they returned home they were paid even less than what they were told.
The whole foreign worker need is bogus and is merely a cheap alternative to hiring locals who expect a livable wage and safe conditions.
None of which are being supplied by the multi National Corporations running the mills, mines and other resources.
It’s time we saw policies that encourage smaller local operations and value added jobs. Those are the kind of employment opportunities that encourage and produce healthy societies and local economies.
It’s great that the CEO’s can have homes in all the great cities of the world but it would be better if everyone else could afford just one and be able to feed their families instead of depending on food banks and charity.
I checked out the BC Legislature channel yesterday and it was the most painfully boring experience in my life. The whole useless bunch gathered at 10 AM for about 15 minutes of a prayer and Rich Coleman’s announcement of a grandchild’s birth (not surprisingly, the baby weighed in @ 11lbs 3 ozs.) Then they adjourned until 2 PM. (I wonder how many martini lunches we paid for yesterday?)
At 2 PM, they all reconvened for another, lengthier prayer, followed by the most sickening throne speech of all time. The Lieutenant Governor must have been chosen for his ability to put people to sleep, or at least, to speak in a mumbling monotone that nobody could understand. Within an hour, the house was adjourned again, after absolutely nothing being accomplished. (Our tax dollars at work!)
I was unable to tune in this morning, but I intend to watch this afternoon’s performance. It can’t get any worse, can it?
Anyway, I do hope that Adrian Dix and his team gets to address all the greedy government and corporate decisions that are crippling the workers in our province, not to mention the environmental damage that’s being done. By giving the multi-nationals free rein to ‘police’ themselves, Christy and her clowns are destroying B.C. We have to stop them…….somehow!
gini,you are awful…ly funny sometimes!! ; )
I haven’t watched any. Frankly these pills make me sick enough without adding to the nausea of hearing all the grand plans of our unelected premier. But yes, I do hope as well, that Dix and co. take a look at this and these stories, and get on it. No more raw logs leaving that could be cut here. But remember, Christy is not about making BC better, despite the bribery of a family day..lol… shes about making sure China is happy!
Disgraceful all round. Mines are often bad enough in the first place, but announcing them as creating jobs when it is all for out of country people is horrendous. Sort of what happened with Canada Line too, wasn’t it.
Esso Resources was just here in Cranbrook with a job fair and offering $52 an hour !!
“IGNORANCE MUST BE BLISS”
I keep saying: Read Harper’s speech in New York, at the Council of Foreign Relations. Sept.25/2007. He made it abundantly clear, what his plans for Canada were, if only he could get a majority. Well, now he has his majority. What he is doing fits right in with his speech in New York.
Other country’s are seeing what a mess Harper is making of Canada. They see Harper destroying our democracy. Mind you, the German people slept through Hitler too, until it was too late. They were warned over and over of Hitler’s evil agenda. But, like us they didn’t want to believe it.
Can’t people see? Canada is being stripped of absolutely everything. BC has vast natural resources, numerous mines, oil and gas fields, timber and we own none of them. Our CN railroad sold, our BCR thieved and sold. Our rivers thieved and sold. Canadians will not even own our water, especially in BC. The two worst politicians in Canadian history are, Harper and Campbell.
Bill, perhaps you can expand on why you think your quote is appropriate ?
[…] First, I thought you might want to read a current look at raw log exports, something that’s been an ongoing issue through several elections and yet… our current government does absolutely nothing to stem the flow of wood and jobs overseas. http://www.policynote.ca/log-export-drain/ Long time readers know we have been talking about this as far back as 2011. […]
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