'Steelworkers have John Horgan's back

Horgan takes on Clark, forest companies

Donald Trump trade threats raise political heat for Premier Christy Clark

NDP leader John Horgan has started his election campaign on the state of B.C.’s forest industry, hinting that Premier Christy Clark should replace her trade minister and “retool” for a lumber battle with incoming U.S. President Donald Trump.

At a campaign-style event in Vancouver Tuesday, Horgan also took aim at B.C.’s biggest forest companies for buying sawmills in the United States as B.C. mills shut down.

“When I look at what some of the major forest companies in British Columbia have been doing in the last number of years, they haven’t been reinvesting their profits in British Columbia, they’ve been buying U.S. assets,” Horgan said. “Canfor, Interfor, West Fraser have been purchasing U.S. interests rather than reinvesting here in British Columbia.”

Clark and Forests Minister Steve Thomson also heard from coastal industry representatives, as the annual Truck Loggers Association opened in Vancouver Wednesday.

“Recent industry polling tells us that two in three Coastal British Columbians feel government should be doing more to support the forest industry,” said David Elstone, TLA executive director.

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond acknowledged that forest and other resource communities have lost jobs in B.C., while the urban southwest enjoys an employment boom. She said the softwood lumber agreement was among the first issues raised by Clark when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected, and Thomson and new federal Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland are in regular contact.

“To suggest otherwise is simply wrong, and it’s a little late for the leader of the opposition to be talking about expanding our market share,” Bond said. “Our marketing efforts in China have seen a 2,000 per cent increase in B.C. softwood lumber exports from 2003 to 2014. And suddenly, the leader of the opposition is going to come up with a marketing strategy?”

Horgan appeared with Steelworkers’ Union Local 2009 president Manjit Sidhu, who said he has seen steady decline since he started working at Hammond Cedar in Maple Ridge in 1973. The world’s largest cedar mill, owned by Interfor, is down to a single shift because of a lack of logs, he said.

“The Steelworkers have John Horgan’s back, because John Horgan has the Steelworkers’ and the B.C. forest industry’s back,” Sidhu said.

Canada’s lumber trade with the U.S. has been in dispute off and on since 1982, with a combination import cap and border tax imposed by the U.S. that expired last year.

B.C.’s lumber sales to China have declined since a 2014 peak, when they briefly exceeded U.S. exports. China has increasingly turned to Russian lumber since the ruble was devalued in 2015.

 

Just Posted

Sooke’s Meals on Wheels needs cooks

Group serves nutritious meals to some of the region’s most vulnerable residents

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

School’s on today, more snow expected across Greater Victoria

Environment Canada says more snow could fall Friday

Photo gallery: Show us your Winter Wonderland!

User submitted photos from around Greater Victoria

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Human remains found near Campbell River

Human remains were found in a rural area outside Campbell River, RCMP… Continue reading

Most Read