'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

Okanagan teenagers found after missing for four days

The pair, believed to be dating, had been missing since Nov. 15.

Vernon player lifts Canada to Davis Cup tennis win

Vasek Pospisil captures singles and doubles matches to help Canada beat Italy 2-1 on opening day

Two-vehicle Vernon crash ‘looks worse than it is’

Nobody injured in accident that happened just before 5 p.m. in 2800 block of 45th Avenue

Kamloops woman sues Armstrong IPE for Slingshot mishap

Woman claims ride gone wrong caused injury, loss of wages and other damages

Lake Country burglars on the loose after attempted robbery

Two masked individuals tried to empty the Turtle Bay Pub’s ATM on Monday morning

Investigation ongoing in south Vernon shots fired

RCMP have no updates from Nov. 1 incident

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave Indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Missing hunter located by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

The hunter went missing after being separated from his partner around 5:30 p.m. on Monday

Penticton artist brings joy to others through her painting

Hedy Munawych is 96 years old and just loves painting the beauty of the world around her.

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Most Read