Federal election candidates Mel Arnold, Cindy Derkaz, Kyle Delfing, Marc Reinarz and Harwinder Sandhu voice their views for the approximately 75 people who came to the Sicamous Seniors Centre on Thursday, Oct. 3 to hear the candidates speak. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Federal candidates in North Okanagan-Shuswap voice views on forestry fixes

Sicamous residents gather to hear topics from pipelines to species at risk

At a time when shutdowns and layoffs are realities in the forest industry, it was no surprise that a question about forestry was asked at the North Okanagan-Shuswap all-candidates’ forum held at the Sicamous Senors Centre Thursday.

The question asked Oct. 3 was what each party would do to address the downturn and job losses.

Kyle Delfing, People’s Party of Canada candidate, said renegotiating trade deals is the short answer.

He said the Harper government in 2011 had an opportunity to negotiate the Softwood Lumber Agreement before it expired but didn’t. Under the Liberals, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland was sent, but “Donald Trump actually asked Trudeau to send a better negotiator down there because she wasn’t negotiating with our best interests.”

He said while the federal government can participate in trade negotiations, it also needs to work with the province to revamp stumpage fees.

Read more: B.C. premier says it’s time to add value to province’s forestry

Read more: ‘We’re all getting hit hard’: B.C. truck convoy to protest forestry job losses

Marc Reinarz, Green Party of Canada candidate, said wood should be processed locally. By keeping logs here, jobs are maintained and buying back lumber isn’t necessary. He noted that in the past, over-supplies of wood were dumped in the U.S., depleting reserves. Now that there’s a shortage of logs, he said it’s time to log wisely, while taking care of watersheds.

Harwinder Sandhu, NDP candidate, spoke about raw logs, stating that under the previous provincial government over the last decade, raw log exports were increased by 500 per cent.

“That has a lot to do with the problem we’re in today and it went unaddressed.”

Sandhu said the NDP would invest in forestry innovation, research and development, and support value-added products and the good jobs that go with them. It would also expand markets, diminishing reliance on the U.S.

Mel Arnold, Conservative candidate, said he heard from leaders in the industry that there was difficulty moving the product when the wood value was good. They couldn’t get rail cars because they were tied up shipping oil. He said the U.S. started looking elsewhere.

Arnold said the Liberal government had a year to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement but failed. He said Canada needs to work on its international trade agreements as well as retraining to get people back to work.

Read more: Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Read more: Interior forestry workers ratify five-year contract

Cindy Derkaz, Liberal Party candidate, said the federal government has injected $867 million into supporting workers and expanding and diversifying markets.

She pointed out the Conservatives didn’t get the Softwood Lumber Agreement worked out either, so it ended up with the Liberal government, and the U.S. government also changed. She said she is happy that people the quality of Chrystia Freeland are negotiating for Canada, putting “trade agreements in place with every other G7 country.”

Derkaz said there is a big role for the federal government and the local MP to help communities get funding support.

Other submitted questions the candidates tackled for the crowd of about 75 present included support for small business, construction of pipelines, highway construction, thoughts on SNC Lavalin and protecting species at risk.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Okanagan farmers’ markets excited to welcome artisans back amid COVID-19

Provincial health officer announced non-food items to return to markets this weekend

COVID-19: Coldstream district office set to open

Safety measures in place to protect staff, public upon June 1 reopening

Armstrong council reopens meetings to public at theatre

New location will allow appropriate physical distancing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Promoting downtown Vernon businesses the focus for 2020: DVA

Downtown Vernon Association holds AGM, plans to support biz move through pandemic

Bear fails to interrupt golfers in Vernon

‘It definitely was hard to putt with a bear that close, but we got it done’

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Parts of the TCT through Princeton will open to motorized vehicles Monday

Parts of the KVR trail through Princeton will open for motorized vehicles… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Shuswap restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read