As a B.C. resident born at Mission Hospital in 1955, it pains me to see what is happening to Mission and Interior communities in regards to their economies and the demise of the B.C. softwood lumber industry.
In earlier years, B.C.’s economy thrived in the softwood lumber industry. Left unto its own merits, it maintained its sustainability through the very supply and demand, demanded by modern democratic economies.
It wasn’t until the U.S. realized that we were beating them at their own game, and that we could out supply them in their own market cheaper than they could, that things changed to favour them, and they tariffed us out of their market.
At the same time we were building our forest industry based on export of lumber to the U.S. So when the lumber demand dropped, so did the price, and you’ll notice there are very few lumber mills around. So now we are exporting raw logs and our best product out of the country and buying them back as finished goods.
We have to figure out a way to become efficient enough with our sustainable and renewable forest resource that we don’t have to depend on market values to get us back to the point where 70 cents out of every dollar in B.C. comes from forestry.
I think it’s time for governments to rethink the Canadian softwood lumber industry policy. Obviously, we are not taking advantage of, or maximizing our use of, this magnificent renewable resource.
If we invested the same amount every year in forestry initiative as we do subsidizing the gas and oil industry – $1.2 billion – our economy would be thriving and our forests would be the most pristine in the world.