B.C. opposition sounds alarm on forestry industry

VICTORIA ― Layoffs and shutdowns in the forestry sector are wreaking havoc on B.C. communities, Liberal forestry critic John Rustad says. “It’s unfathomable to think of the carnage that’s already happened, let alone what will happen this winter,” he told the Canadian Press. “It’s going to be a very bleak winter.” The centre-right Official Opposition party pressed the NDP government on the subject every day until the legislature rose last week. “When will the Premier and his government start paying attention and do something?” asked Shirley Bond, co-critic on the finance portfolio.

Rural development critic Donna Barnett is seeking temporary payment relief for Sigurdson Forest Products, which owes the province $4.6 million in stumpage fees, so that the company can save about 200 jobs. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the request is before the finance ministry, adding that stumpage rates already fell in October by 12% in the B.C. Interior and 24% on the coast.