Logging trucks gather from around the B.C. Interior to head to downtown Vancouver for protest and meeting with NDP government officials at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Sept. 27, 2019. (B.C. Logging Convoy/Facebook)

B.C. VOTES 2020: NDP vows log quotas, community building fund

Forest, industrial communities look for help in election platforms

A year ago, NDP leader John Horgan’s government was facing a long truck convoy of out-of-work loggers in downtown Vancouver and farmers protesting on the B.C. legislature steps in Victoria.

One of the issues was the province’s move to cancel a $25 million “rural dividend” fund, shelving community applications to diversify local economies that have lost forest and other industrial employment. The money went toward retraining and other relief for the four latest victims of rural mill closures, Quesnel, Fort St. James, Vavenby and Chasm.

That kind of cost restraint goes out the window with the B.C. NDP’s pandemic election plan, which features a $3 billion-per-year “recovery investment fund” to add to the government’s $23 billion capital works budget for schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure.

The NDP platform, the first to be released in full for the surprise Oct. 24 election, also adds another $400 million program to “revitalize community infrastructure,” likely based on applications from municipalities like the late, lamented rural dividend.

RELATED: NDP launches platform, more COVID-19 payments

RELATED: We’ll get on with Massey bridge, B.C. Liberals say

The big news on forest policy is a vow to “dedicate a specific portion of the annual allowable cut towards higher value producers who can demonstrate their ability to create new jobs.” That is a step beyond additional fees and wood salvage regulations that the NDP government has imposed on an industry with widespread shutdowns in recent years.

The NDP platform promises only to continue “significant investments” in tree planting, wildfire protection and silviculture. Other industries get more vague support.

“We’ll create a Mining Innovation Hub to identify and support innovation, offering training for workers in new technologies, regulatory excellence, environmental management and low-carbon approaches,” the party says.

Agriculture gets a similar mention, with a promise of a new “regenerative agriculture network” to merge traditional farming with technologies “such as robotics, precision farming, and mesh networks.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

A grizzly that was spotted near Newens Road in Smithers has been captured, tagged and relocated. (photo from Facebook)
Dohler Flats grizzly relocated by Smithers COs

The four-year-old male was relocated a couple of hours south of Houston

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw 14 cases reported, the biggest single-day total since the beginning of the pandemic

This weapon was seized by Houston RCMP after a traffic stop Oct. 14 (Houston RCMP photo)
Guns, cash and suspected narcotics seized

Seizure follows traffic stop on Oct. 14

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read