Re: “Forest minister launches boost for timber industry at Victoria convention,” Jan. 17.
Forests Minister Steve Thomson failed to address a fundamental problem of the coastal forest industry driving log exports — the lack of investment in retooling existing mills and in building new milling capacity for second-growth timber.
With competing economic value being placed on the ecological services that old-growth forests provide, such as purifying water, cleaning air (carbon) and conserving soil, any future increase in the number of jobs will be greatly leveraged upward by adding value in the manufacturing sector to the smaller volumes of timber being felled. By continuing to stimulate log exports, the provincial government is doing the opposite.
In theory, raw logs can be exported only if they meet the test of being surplus to the needs of domestic mills. By increasing the amount of public timber available for harvesting, the government will ensure that log exporters meet that surplus test even more easily than they have done during a decade of mill closures.
All the government will achieve is the maintenance of existing harvesting jobs propped up by increasing log exports and a continuation of a self-fulfilling death spiral of manufacturing jobs.