‘Steelworkers have John Horgan’s back,” said Local 2009 president Manjit Sidhu, with Horgan in Vancouver Tuesday.

Horgan takes on Clark, forest companies

Steelworkers ‘have NDP leader’s back’

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.

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

Top 5 places to take your dog in Kelowna

Here are our top five places to take your furry friend

COSAR makes Kelowna Law Day debut

The search and rescue team was on scene as Girl Guides were arrested left and right

Kelowna woman runs to beat hunger

Teri Kanner is collecting donations for the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank

Battle of the concert bands in Lake Country

The annual Concert Band competition is held at Creekside Theatre April 24 to 26

Snoozed through the news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, the Capital News will feature popular stories from the week

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read