BC Jobs Plan working, in China

In the last year, the Pacific Northwest (BC, WA, OR) exported well more than $1 billion worth of raw softwood logs to China. Shipments for 2011 were more than in the preceding five years combined. Increased demand for logs might be great for the logging industry, but it results in closures and layoffs at sawmills and other wood processing facilities.

A few corporations do well harvesting logs in British Columbia but, without subsequent processing, many service and supply businesses that serve the industry are starving. We are not merely shipping logs to China; we are exporting jobs that ensured our own prosperity.

BC government policy once allowed only for export of logs surplus to local needs. They still make the claim but, from the time Gordon Campbell’s Liberals took power in 2001, raw log exports soared. Political and economic pressures prevent BC mills from interfering with overseas shipments. One of the province’s largest sawmill operators told a public meeting that he was pressured to NOT bid on logs slated for export even though his mills were critically short of fibre.

BC sends trade missions to China to sell more unprocessed logs while people in small communities all over the province witness the closure of sawmills and other wood manufacturers.

When the last BC mill closes, will we be able to afford finished lumber to build our homes? Actually, the plutocracy has an answer for that: “Home ownership is an unrealistic dream of today’s young people.”


BC Liberal Radio, during its early afternoon time-out for decent broadcasting, had a segment on this issue March 14. Of course, it was Simi Sara looking at the issue, without being an apologist for Premier Photo-Op and her colleagues. It’s a good interview, worth a listen at their audio vault.

1:05 – 1:15

NDP leader Adrian Dix wants an explanation as to why raw logs from BC are being shipped overseas and processed instead of getting BC producers to process the wood. The biggest issue is the amount of jobs that BC residents are losing out on by shipping the logs overseas. And the reason the logs are being shipped there is because labour is cheaper in places like China than it is here. The United Steel Workers Union and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives agrees saying that the province needs to stop closing sawmills and other wood-processing plants. Why should the logs stay in BC? Are there any solutions to this hugely controversial issue?

15 replies »

  1. Those of us from forest industry families have been saying for over ten years that raw log exports benefit no one but the companies. Now the industry is in tatters, it's nice to know that some people are finally talking about it. What those people and their cohorts did to the industry in BC is criminal, and all for a quick, cheap buck.


  2. Get rid of the BC Libs…now…
    Or kiss your kids and grandkids futures, goodbye.
    They are selling off your province, for their own ends, sooner or later we will all go broke, if these fools continue to govern…


  3. The Forest industry has been mismanaged since day one. At least up until Campbell stole the province it provided jobs.

    We can't wait for another election, there will be nothing left to govern.

    Thank you Norm,, as always, you nailed it.


  4. Why don't the Chinese harvest their own trees?
    Waiting for ours to be used up before they tackle their own?
    They have plenty of land? Why don't they reforest it as we do? Yeah, Right!


  5. Short term gain…that's the BC Lib's for you and leave the “political” earth, “scorched” for who ever gets elected next time around. What an incredible bunch of clowns we have presently governing us. The “cleptocarcy” is selling us out, one reource or one industry, at a time.

    We are in deep trouble, if they continue…


  6. Are these log exports exempt from stumpage fees?

    Also, I understand that logs harvested from private lands do not pay stumpage fees. This exporting of raw logs means that virtually no revenues flow into provincial coffers and our public resources being given away for nothing.


  7. The corporations who controlled the Tree Farm Licenses in the late 80's, early 90's began to separate their companies into business units purposefully to distance the harvesting licenses from the manufacturing. All was needed was to rewrite the harvesting license agreements that contained clauses requiring local manufacturing jobs.
    The licenses were rewritten under the nose of the Minister of Forests by high level bureaucrats to eliminate manufacturing requirements… thus jobs. If one undertook an investigation to compile evidence of written direction from the Minister of Forests to do so… none can be found. Which leaves one with the question of how this could be done. There is only one answer, it's called corruption. In BC in runs deep and wide.


  8. Corruption has been present for years. Long ago, I had direct knowledge of the “short scale” fraud that enabled large forest companies to avoid paying proper stumpage and also screwed logging contractors who were being paid according to scale. It added millions to the pockets of large corporations and much of that came out of the pockets of small operators.


  9. It is very difficult not to be sardonic about the state of the forest industry, where as, ironically, the taxpayers of BC are actually subsidizing raw log export because the stumpage fees and licensing fees no longer cover the cost(it use to be a profit center) of operating the MOF(or what ever it is called now). So when one spies(quite blatant actually) a freighter plowing it's way to Asia with a load of logs, know that, not only are those jobs sailing away but we are actually paying to send those jobs away. How can this not be hilariously tragic? I am sure Norm that you know that the logs from private lands pay no stumpage fees at all but many don't seem to consider that their movement requires the use of publicly funded infrastructure. It is also interesting to note that the private lands from which these logs come from on Vancouver Island were handed over to Dunsmuir and friends in exchange for building and operating a railway(in perpetuity) from Victoria to Campbell River. Apparently, business and rail patrons still have a long walk to Courtenay and politicians have watered down that legal and binding contract so much so that nobody is really required to operate any railway. Supernaturally stunned BC.


  10. And this, of course, partly explains why the elites do not want to fund excellent public education while, on the other hand, they will pay to maintain control of media, even money losing properties like Postmedia. Ignorant or misinformed citizens are complacent and obsequious. Exactly what greedy thieves and bandits want.


  11. Nothing short of extreme civic unrest and disobediance is what it is going to take to sort out this corruption. Waiting on a political party is a fools game and the government know it.



  12. I'm curious as to how people rationalize the fact that Asians will pay $350-$400 dollars for logs that BC mills will only pay $260 dollars.
    Like anyone in BC,I would like to see those logs milled here to.But who takes the loss of the differences between what BC mills and Asians are willing to pay for those raw logs?


  13. Please provide a link for your facts….first time I have seen price per log(meaningless) rather than price per Cubic Meter. Temple logs are worth more per Meter as temple logs and requires monk labor if that is the basis of your argument and if in fact the price you quote is true then virtual slave labor is most likely required to turn them into lumber.


  14. Fadden of CSIS warned of China's encroachment into Canada. And especially BC he said.

    Campbell thieved and sold BC's assets and resources. Campbell's theft and sale of our BC rivers, has a very catastrophic eco damage, done to our wild Salmon and indeed all species of fish are dying. Filthy diseased fish farms are also killing off, BC's wild Salmon. There was also Campbell's election lie, the BCR wasn't for sale.

    Campbell has already shipped our mills to China, along with our raw logs. This put 131,000 BC mill people out of jobs. Christy has also, not done any reforestation.

    Campbell also gave our BC mines to China. China is bringing their own miners, to work those mines. China refuses to pay Canadian wages.

    So poor old Christy has to bring foreigners, to work all of BC's resources. Let us see, just how many of Christy's foreigners are Chinese.


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