TERRACE, B.C. — When the B.C. Liberals announced a plan to permit raw log exports in an attempt to get loggers and truckers back to work, not everyone was pleased.
The latest to speak out against the move is IWA union spokesman, Terry Tate of local I-425.
Tate says the move is just a cash grab, which will have dire long-term consequences, despite admitting it may help truckers who have been without freight in recent months.
“Loggers and truckers are the only ones working and benefiting from raw log exports,” says Tate. “As well, the companies and the government make instant money on the sale of raw logs.”
Premier Gordon Campbell recently floated the idea of exporting mountain pine beetle-infested logs to the U.S. to help deal with increased logging allowances brought in to help slow the epidemic.
“We may, in fact, be able to help solve some of the problems some mills have in terms of supply in places other than B.C.,” Campbell said at a Mar. 4 meeting.
Tate says that would mean raw logs will bypass Canadian mills and production lines and the only winners will be Americans and big business. He adds that up to one million cubic metres of raw logs could be seen as surplus, making them available for export to foreign markets.
“Once you open the gate, there’s no stopping it,” says Tate. “Under NAFTA, once you start shipping, just try and stop it. Industry and government must remember that this timber belongs to the residents of B.C.”
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