Forestry

Vertical integration of Chinese forest industry

The Wall Street Journal reports the China Investment Corp. will acquire a substantial stake in Island Timberlands, which owns about 254,000 hectares of forest land, mainly on Vancouver Island.

Soon, we may learn that Chinese workers are paying agents’ fees for jobs in the British Columbia logging industry. That would make sense because the logs are headed to China for milling and its economically efficient for low-wage foreign workers to “explore” the forest for trees, fall them, set chokers, yard and haul timber and load foreign ships with raw logs.

Canadian forestry workers have grown uppity in recent times, demanding safer working conditions in one of Canada’s most dangerous occupations. They’ve also been demanding that employers pay living wages for their efforts.

Importing Chinese workers will be good for the Canadian forest industry because businesses can avoid money wasting training and safety programs. Besides, even if the companies wanted to employ Canadians, everyone knows it takes at least five years to train a logger.

19 replies »

  1. They actually OWN the land… or just the timber rights? There's a big difference — though importing workers is bad, either way.

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  2. Island Timberlands is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, of Toronto, and New York. Rich Coleman gifted the company thousands of Hectares of Vancouver Island to do with what they will. What they will do is log it, burn it, pave it.

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  3. Correct, 635,000 acres is about 8% of Vancouver Island. The forests involved mostly came from areas once controlled by MacMillan Bloedel. That company used to be a major employer on the coast, particularly in Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Crofton and Powell River.

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  4. I am speechless…..but I wouldn't be should I ever find myself in the same room as any member of this Liberal government, or any person of their hire. How can they sleep at night? I say Liberal not to draw party lines, but to describe the group of them by the name they have chosen to be recognized as. Politics is derived from “of, for or relating to citizens”. They clearly do not “relate to citizens” nor appear to be “for citizens”. They should no longer be deemed a political party. It is not a left or right thing at all. It is a “relating to citizens” thing. There must be another term to describe their “party”.

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  5. We ,through our proxy ,The Government of BC , should put a special annual 'Property Tax ' on that land ,partly in response to shipping raw logs offshore ,and also in response to the slow but steady separation between land use and the original reasons for its special tax status, etc. . Think of the general revenue the Gov. could raise . Whooee!

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  6. Now those lands are mostly producing raw logs for export. A lot of good jobs in those towns replaced by minimum wage placements, or unemployment.

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  7. Any foreign worker would still have to have the proper certificates as any local. So i don't see them taking away any jobs anytime soon, especially fallers. Also, how do you figure 5yrs to train a logger? I suspect that was sarcasm.

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  8. You're right. That was the provincial government's claim for coal miners when they were defending themselves against criticism of Chinese miners imported to work in northern BC. Premier Photo-Op even claimed the imports would not be mining, they would be doing exploration. Of course, that remark was an even dumber justification.

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  9. I think it reasonable to conclude Norm was being sarcastic but I am also sure the B.C. & Federal governments will try it. B.C. loggers were usually unionized & had decent paying jobs. Forestry is a very dangerous job & WCB was usually there also. China won't want that so it will be easier to bring in their own workers & they will. You can expect to see Ottawa granting them temporary work visas & off they go. No jobs for Canadians.

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  10. China now owns some of the best land on Vancouver Island. They will be free to do with it as they want, unless there are regulations in place to prevent the destruction of our enviornment. Do not expect the lieberals or stevie slime to do that. The land includes, mountains, ocean front, lakes, salmon streams, etc. We can expect to see resorts up & running with no consideration for our enviornment or our laws. Workers will be imported.

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  11. Keep in mind these private timber lands were a land grant given away to Dunsmuir and company to build and operate a rail line from Campbell River to Victoria in perpetuity. We all know that the E&N does not operate at this time and in the past 60 years has operated as a token till the public forgets the original deal which the liberals have forgiven. At this time E&N is in the business of getting yet another government handout to repair the rail line. The government just keeps giving away public assets and money to their friends. Their actions are despicable beyond belief.

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  12. Yes the rail line will be rebuilt with handouts, if it is built. Better to tell the company, you build it, it was part of the original deal. Now that the China Investment corp has bought into Island timberlands we can expect to see the destruction of the land all over Vancouver Island.

    We need to start holding companies accountable for what they do & to restrict who can purchase land in Canada & how much. It is done in India & other countries. There is no reason we can't do it in Canada. We like to think we have so much land we can let anyone buy. However, there is only a small portion which can grow food. I really don't know why old treason stephen is encouraging all of the sale of Canada but I do wonder where all the money is going.

    At least Quebec got smart & is having an inquiry into “money matters”. It might be a good idea to have one in B.C. & federally. You have to wonder why Harper, once critical of China, is suddenly such an advocate of them. The free trade agreement with China stinks on ice. Its secretive & violates, in my opinion, our constitution & values.

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