Political Commitments

As the May 14, 2013 provincial election approaches, Political Parties are beginning to make commitments relative to various issues, including forest management and land use.  As a service to HFHC supporters, this section provides links to the political party commitments and a comparison with the HFHC recommendations. Commitments by each of the major Parties will be updated below as more information is provided.  Any commitments mentioned on the HFHC website are not official and should be confirmed in discussions with the candidates or review of the official Party website.

The following Links are provided to each Party website for your convenience.

BC Conservatives

• Policy document of the BC Conservative Party
• Updated Policies
• Election Platform

Specific commitments based on Party policies:

  • Overall forest management commitments
    • Forests are to be managed for all values
    • Increase Ministry staffs to ensure adequate oversight of forest land practices
  • Forest Management priorities
    • Updating the forest inventory is a high priority
    • Creation of a working forest after excluding non-timber forest values
    • Increased emphasis on area-based tenures, especially Community Forests and First Nations Woodlands Licenses
    • Encourage more investment in the forest through area-based tenures
    • Support for strategic land planning
  • Community Priorities
    • Encourage the production of value-added products
    • Engaging the public in various ways depending on the issue
  • Encouraging a more open log market and determining stumpage payments based on log value

BC Green Party

Green Book
Consolidated Parties

The Green Party has committed to:

  • Simulate local wood-based and forest products industry
  • Encourage the development of value-added, second-growth processing facilities through tax-shifting
  • Provide low-interest start-up loans to encourage small, labour-intensive eco-forestry
  • Ensure small and value-added BC-based forest businesses have access to a reliable wood supply through regional log markets
  • Develop a licensing system and enforceable rules for sustainable commercial harvest of non-timber forest products by local people
  • Increase small-scale forest tenure such as community forests and woodlots
  • Support companies that want Forest Stewardship Council eco-certification for their wood products and help market eco-certified BC wood products internationally
  • Establish post-secondary programs and professional development opportunities for training and skills upgrading to ensure professional foresters are competent in all aspects of sustainable forest practice, stewardship, and management
  • Provide extension services for preparation of management plans, forest valuation, and capacity building
  • Set up an inquiry into stumpage manipulation, reinstate government log scalers, and set stumpage rates at fair market value
  • Establish Regional Resource Management Boards with the mandate to incrementally achieve Green forest policy goals and provide stewardship role over local forests
  • Accelerate tenure reform to require no less than fifty per cent of public forest tenures be held by First Nations woodlots and communities by the year 2019
  • Establish competitive regional log markets that sell all logs from public land through open auction, and in the interim replace the current stumpage tax system with the payment of a percentage tax on the logs sold
  • Establish an independent review into the state of British Columbia’s forests and their management, focusing on area-based tenure, industrial structure, and sustainability of forests
  • Institute watershed and ecosystem-based management plans and rate of cut determinations based on ecologically sustainable forestry principles that protect timber and non-timber forest values, including cultural, environmental, tourism, recreational, and fishery values
  • Maintain natural (fire, wind, insects, etc.) and human (logging) disturbances within the historic range of natural variability
  • Phase out clear cutting in second-growth stands and replacing this practice with frequent light commercial thinning and longer rotations
  • Designate, as off-limits to logging, our remaining intact watersheds, domestic drinking water watersheds, endangered ecosystems, habitats of endangered species, and First Nations lands on which approval to log has not been granted
  • Ban the use of pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers in public forests
  • Eliminate coastal old-growth logging
  • Maintain the ecological integrity and resilience of forests to reduce vulnerability to natural and human caused stresses
  • Set the same standards of environmental protection for logging on private lands over five hectares, as established for public lands
  • Establish a reserve fund to enable increased forest restoration activities during times when the forest economy experiences a downturn

Forestry Action Plan
The party is calling for the following key actions and reforms to be taken with respect to forestry management, and would work across party lines to enact this plan if elected in May to:

  • Conduct a provincial inventory on remaining old growth forests
  • Conduct a science-based risk assessment for biodiversity, concentrated on different old growth retention levels
  • Create an incentive to retool lumber mills from handling old growth to handling second growth
  • Increase the log export tax (fee in lieu of manufacturing) to encourage value added economic development
  • Partition the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) to reflect rates that differentiate between second growth forest and old growth forest
  • Modify the stumpage fee rate to link it to the degree of value added manufacturing in British Columbia
  • Enact emergency protections immediately in the most endangered old-growth forest ecosystems, such as the Coastal Douglas Fir zone on eastern Vancouver Island where only 1% of the original old-growth forests remain
  • Phase out old growth forest logging at a rate faster than the depletion rate, with the timelines to be established after the science based risk assessment is complete
  • Establish an old growth reserve to allow the recruitment of second growth forest to become old growth
  • Ensure that old growth management areas reflect the need to preserve high productivity as well as low productivity old growth forests.

BC Liberals

BC Liberal Commitments

  • Increase annual silviculture activities in regions hard hit by mountain pine beetle epidemic with an additional $10 million/year starting in 2015/16
  • Assist communities facing challenges and opportunities of transition through rural dividend program
  • Increase diversity of area-based forest management by enabling transition from volume-based licenses where appropriate and consistent with mid-term timber supply recommendations
  • Implement a 10-year $80 million forest inventory plan in mountain pine beetle affected priority areas
  • Implement regulations for new legislation to provide security to bio-energy, pellet and secondary manufacturing operators

BC NDP
http://www.bcndp.ca/

Goals

  • A profitable and competitive forest industry that creates more good-paying jobs
  • Improved forest health
  • Reduced raw log exports and the creation of more value-added forest jobs in B.C.
  • Support for forestry workers, communities and companies to adapt to post-pine beetle change

Priority Action – One

  • Address the critical shortage of skilled workers in the forest sector as part of a broader skills training plan
  • Investing in people is the shared number one priority between government and industry
  • Improve access to skills training opportunities to prepare workers for the increasingly high-tech jobs that exist in the forestry and value-added sectors

Priority Action – Two
Implement a five-year strategic and operational forest health plan that will increase funding by $100 million annually, phased in over the next five years, including:

  • Update resource inventories and consult with stakeholders to identify priority geographic areas
  • Double replanting rates on Crown land that has been left barren
  • Enhance Ministry of Forests research capacity, particularly at the regional level
  • Better facilitate engagement on land-use planning at regional and local levels
  • Protect and prepare rural communities for severe wildfire seasons

Priority Action – Three

  • Work with and provide tangible support for industry-led efforts to identify new global markets and grow forest product exports
  • Focus B.C.’s existing trade development resources on working with the industry
  • Ensure at a senior political level that industry-led efforts are supported

Priority Action – Four

  • Use B.C. logs to create B.C. jobs
  • Work with stakeholders to reduce raw log exports and create more value-added forestry jobs in British Columbia

Priority Action – Five

  • Establish a Jobs Protection Commissioner
  • Support communities and industries in transition and facing timber supply shortages due to the impacts of the pine beetle infestation
  • Minimize job loss, help local economies adapt, and enhance the long-term economic competitiveness of resource industries

Costing:
Increase funding by a total of $100 million annually phased in over the next five years. The increase over the next five years is:

  • 2013/2014 = $30 million additional
  • 2014/2015 = $40 million additional
  • 2015/2016 = $60 million additional
  • 2016/2017 = $100 million additional
  • 2017/2018 = $100 million additional

Other “Commitments” have been identified through several public presentations but confirmation of these through discussions with NDP Candidates is recommended.  They include:

  • Take measures to protect endangered species and habitats
  • Commitments identified through several public presentations but confirmation of these through discussions with NDP Candidates is recommended.  They include:
    • Clear plan for measures investment in the land
      • Establish a clear vision for out forests with a long-term sustainability goal and before policy changes are considered
      • Proceed carefully
        • Focused on inclusion compared to exclusion in decision-making
        • One step at a time
        • Research to guide decision-making, especially including climate change
      • Maintain MFLNRO structure for Ministry stability
      • Support for area-based tenures after determining what is expected from the forest through the vision and after resource inventories are updated
    • Returning BC forests to a healthy state
      • Retaining Professional Reliance with improvements over time
    • Meeting Priority needs of community
      • Involving communities in decisions
      • Investigating ways to more fully utilize wood as part of community diversification
      • Work with current licensees to create more fibre for small mills
    • Demonstrate the practice of SFM
      • Resource inventories (timber and non-timber) are top priority
      • Increasing Forest Service capacity to manage for insects and disease
      • Increasing Forest Service capacity for fish and wildlife habitat restoration and landscape management
      • Engaging in strategic planning involving stakeholders

Independents – Bob Simpson
http://www.reelectbob.ca/sustainability

Overall Approach
Need an independent public enquiry on BC forests that will involve:

  • Re-engaging the public in forestry dialogue
  • Informing the urban public regarding the importance of forestry to BC
  • Determine what we need from our forests

Focus on looking forward, not backward by:

  • Discussing transition of communities with lower AAC levels
  • Consider tenure reform but only after deciding on what is needed from the forest

Governance

  • Establish a permanent Legislative committee on forestry to examine issues
  • Establish the Chief Forester position as an officer of the Legislature with responsibilities to report on the state of BC forests
  • Funding for forests to be considered as an investment by Treasury Board and not a cost
  • Investigate the possibility of using carbon credits as a means of funding forest management

Forest Management

  • Forest ecology comes before economics-robust ecosystems is the target
  • Establish a policy for No Net Loss of the forestry land base through other activities
  • Focus on forest management, not timber management
  • Forest resource inventories:
    – As a top priority
    – Look at the inventories through a climate change lens
    – Include assessment of cumulative impacts by other forest ands activities on the inventory
  • Require landscape level strategic planning that includes all forest resources

Newspaper Articles and Opinions

May 9, 2013 – NDP visits specialty Maple Ridge cedar mill
Phil Melnychuk, Maple Ridge News

May 8, 2013 – Diversification key to Cariboo North future
Charelle Evelyn, Citizen Staff

May 7, 2013 – How can forestry and tourism co-exist?
Campbell River Mirror

May 7, 2013 – Loggers and kayakers step up their campaigns
Campbell River Mirror

May 2, 2013 – NDP would improve, protect industry: Dix
Vancouver Sun

April 28, 2013 – Editorial: NDP unclear on environment
Times Colonist

April 23, 2013 – B.C. forestry sector split on NDP platform
Jen St. Denis, Business Vancouver

April 18, 2013 – Today’s issue: Forestry and log exports
Paul Rudan, Campbell River Mirror

April 18, 2013 – Diversity in forestry is the way to go, say Truck Loggers
Paul Rudan – Campbell River Mirror

April 17, 2013 – Forest sector key issue in election
Frank Peebles, The Citizen

April 16, 2013 – Vaughn Palmer: Dix’s modest proposal for the forest industry
Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun

April 15, 2013 – President’s Perspective – More Similarities Than Differences
Rick Jeffery, President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association

April 15, 2013 – Parties’ forestry platforms show few differences, industry insiders say
Andrew Duffy, Times Colonist

April 15, 2013 – Adrian Dix reveals $310M forestry plan
The Canadian Press

April 15, 2013 – NDP forest plan ‘minor deviation from unsustainable status quo’: critic
Andrew McLeod, The Tyee

April 15, 2013 – Liberals, NDP agree that counting trees tops to-do list – But all parties differ on how to manage forests in the post-mountain pie beetle era
Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun

March 6, 2013 – Forest issues demand urgent action: Liberal voice absent from  forum at TRU
Mike Youds, Daily News Staff Reporter

February 4, 2013 – NDP forestry critic says it will take years to undue Liberal damage
Pentiction Western News