CONTRIBUTION · 2nd June 2010
Imagine Douglas Channel on a brilliant calm morning. The sun is reflecting off or a myriad of snow fields. The loons are calling and we are all at peace with the world.
Then what's that over there?
A Freighter? No, it's bigger then that. It seems to be a rather large barge being towed by what appears to be a tugboat on Steroids. As we approached, the barge looms larger and larger. It's enormous. Then it hits me, this is one of those gigantic self loading barges bringing the logs out of Kitimat.
I can only imagine how many logs are aboard. Perhaps 10,000 or more. How many logging trucks would that be? My placid morning is becoming less peaceful and I contemplate how many jobs are being exported on this barge alone.
The vessel was leaving Kitimat at a slow pace. Was it loaded under the stealth of darkness? Was it loaded in Clio Bay, to keep the sheer size of the barge out of sight of Kitimat and out of mind?
These logs and the jobs that go with them are off to who knows where. Asia? Vancouver?
Logs should they be just exported without value added? What about our Eurocan jobs?
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 7th June 2010
Perhaps if we insisted on doing more than exporting our wood; perhaps if we didn’t hand out forest licenses for peanuts and without any requirement to mill the wood or add value, we would at least be able get more jobs per cubic meter of wood cut. I don’t think technology in California is behind Canada; they simply do more at the manufacturing end. We have never gone much beyond making 2x4’s. It may take some short-term pain, which is to say that there will be no exporting of wood period, to negate the years of not insisting on appurtenancy requirements. All we do currently is get less revenue from our resources, create fewer jobs and then go back to the average consumer to get the extra taxes (think HST) to pay for services. It is an ideological driven, and I submit, wrong direction.
As long as we let our limited and often non-renewable resources be pimped out by our elected governments and don’t demand a better job-creation policy, nothing will change. The government is dominated by the southern populations. We don’t even protest when much of this happens.
As for Carol James and the NDP, I doubt people are scared of “what Carole and the NDP might do”. Good heavens, things could not get any worse on most fronts and even if the opposition seems incompetent at their current role, they could not be any worse than the liberals, so are bound to be better.
You ask, “Are they going to tax big business to the point of them leaving the province, are they going to stop exploration, and the opening of new mines in favour of going green and not gaining any new jobs?” Last year I challenged another poster to give me a list of mines that left under the NDP and how many opened under the Liberals. He had to admit that he was wrong about the myth that had been created. Business has been on the gravy train since 2002 in every single budget the Liberals have put forward. Maybe it is high time they paid their share. If we let them export our logs to their plants in Washington they will laugh at our stupidity and their extra profits.
Jimmy Pattison is to have said something like, “Just give me the rules and I can make money anywhere.” Of course they will accept more profit if we hand it to them and of course they will whine constantly about how much they have to pay in taxes. But corporations do not and should not elect governments. They are not electors in a democracy. People are, and the objective should be what is in the best interest of all people.
Glass almost empty!!
Comment by James Ippel on 5th June 2010
You are right Helmut when you say that we accept the fact that gov't gives away our resources, and you don't like it any better than I do. Agreement on this point.
As for job creation in relation to cubic meter harvested, I think we should bear in mind that in BC we became much more agressive in our harvesting practices by going more mechanical and thereby eliminating manpower. Part of this, I believe, can be attributed to the high cost of manpower in the forest industry. If the forest companies could find a piece of equipment that would do the work of 3, 4, or 5 people, the purchased it, and put it to work. I don't think the Americans caught on to this for quite some time, and maybe hav'nt yet fully realized how modernization can work to their advantage.
I, unfortunately, do not see a re-start of West Frasers sawmill in Terrace, or a re-start of the Eurocan Mill by West Fraser. As I said before, West Fraser does not like coastal logging because the return on investment is too low.
What the gov't should do is take back all of the Forest Tenure that this company has in the northwest and put it up for tender (laugh, laugh, snicker, snicker) like thats going to happen anytime soon.
The Liberals got rid of the mill in Terrace without thought of the impact on the local economy. I believe that had this mill been located in the Lower Mainland, (where the votes are) millions of dollars would have been made available to keep it in operation.
Having rambled on, and not really put forth any viable solution, what would you do Helmut? We both know that the Liberals have pretty much forsaken us in the northwest, but in general, the population of BC is scared to death of what Carol James and the NDP might do. Are they going to tax big business to the point of them leaving the province, are they going to stop exploration, and the opening of new mines in favour of going green and not gaining any new jobs???? It is a difficult decision, isn't it?????? We need the tax dollars of big business to keep going, are we going to take those dollars now, or hope to get them in the future?
When the glass is almost empty...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 5th June 2010
...you can always take some comfort in the knowledge that there is still a bit of water left. It comes down to whether you want to ask why is the glass almost empty?
Back in 1993 a comment in one of the forestry magazines quoted "B.C.'s record on job creation in the timber industry is one of the worst in the world. Less than one job is created here in B.C. for every 1000 cubic metres of wood cut. The U.S. average per 1000 cubic metres is 3.4, and in California they manage 5.2"
It is pretty obvious that things have gotten worse not better. We only get the short end because we are willing to accept the notion that a government once elected has the power to give our resources away as they please without any regard for local employment. We accept this because we have been sold on the notion that a few jobs are better than the alternative from those governing us - ie. none. I submit that there is a choice to made but there is no reason to accept the wisdom, or lack of it, from the ruling elite.
We did better in the past. Unfortunately we let ourselves get suckered and even though we know what happened we still accept the notion that our resources should be pimped off by a government in Victoria.
Comment by James Ippel on 4th June 2010
I am not in favour of trees leaving our area for processing, but it seems that the local sawmill could not process the logs for profit a few years ago. Times have changed, Pulp prices are up, but for how long? Coast Tsimsian is exporting raw logs, and we can not criticize them for this, because this is a Native Endeavour. Even our illustrious MP, Nathan Cullen refuses to critisize this endeavour, because he knows if he does, he will lose the necessary votes to remain MP.
Fingers can be pointed in many directions, but mainly at the current Liberal Gov't for separating the Tree Farm Licence from the Manufacturing Facility. Had this not happened, it is entirely possible that Mr Venier would have been able to get the old Pohle Mill up and running because he would have had a guaranteed material supply. With that, he would have been able to obtain the finances to move forward. The same applys to the Terrace Lumber Company. Had the Tree Farm Licence stayed with the Mill, they would have had a guaranteed supply of resources, and been successful..
Who is at fault?? The Liberal Gov't. They wanted to get rid of what they considered an NDP boondoggle so bad they did'nt give a damn on how it would impact on the economy of Terrace and area. Well, we have all seen the results hav'nt we?
West Fraser shut down thru a miscalculation by the Union (I know, don't go there) but be realistic. This was the excuse West Fraser needed, and they capitalized on it. Eurocan gone, reason: poor pulp prices, but look at the prices now. Did this company want out of the Northwest???? It was an accepted fact they did not like Coastal Logging because it was expensive, with low return on investment--not a West Fraser criteria.
As for logs floating down the channel, be thankful that there are still people working in the Terrace area, and we are supporting the economy on Vancouver Island and portions of the Lower Mainland, not my favorite alternative, but we do HAVE PEOPLE WORKING IN OUR AREA.
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 4th June 2010
I agree with Harold, this is insane watching our and our childerns futures just floating down the channel. A corrupt government and corporations are running our province, it's not about people anymore ....It's about a few getting rich selling our natural resources. Look at the picture of the log barge and wave...bye-bye jobs!!
Forestry USED to support the whole NW
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 3rd June 2010
We were told that there was not a viable market for lumber so the mills couldn't afford to remain operational. When these logs are processed is the lumber not going to be sold on some market? Why is it not possible for us to do the processing and tap into the same market? Is it even possible to re-establish our forest industry after all the backroom deals and policy changes our government has manipulated, supposedly on our behalf?
Comment by Moe Naguib on 3rd June 2010
The barge is a coastal transporter, the problem is as you point out, the Value Adding jobs are indeed leaving with it. Shame on the both the Federal and Provincial governments.
member of human race
Comment by harold on 2nd June 2010
then lets do something about it...... these loads are leaving Kitimat and Rupert on a regular basis ..... "our" trees ... our jobs ... going where? ......Stop Enbridge ... we don't need to fix broken pipelines and mop oilspills to create jobs ..... we need some will ....and some unity and we would have economic recovery using our environment and the rich (safe) resources in it.
What Terrace Needs...
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 2nd June 2010
Terrace needs to unite, get more involved.
Closed mill on the right with an active log sorting yard on the left.
Apathy does kill, it kills jobs.