President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
In the Post-Election World, Coastal Forestry’s Next Steps need to be Taken Together
Coast Forest Products Association congratulates the BC Liberal Party for their impressive victory in the 2013 provincial election. Their return to government means continuity of the good policy work accomplished so far in forestry.
The BC Liberal Party election platform, “Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow,” represents many of the same ideals held by those of us in coastal forestry. We aim to achieve these by helping to inform sound policy, ensuring that public understanding matches the reality of our sector and that our partnerships are solid.
Stability, certainty and competitiveness – these are a few of the requirements needed to ensure that companies within a sector have the ability to plan for the future and keep people employed. Coastal forestry is no different. We need to be able rely on sound and transparent processes to determine stable land use policies that maximize the use of a sustainable timber harvest land base. We also need to continue to develop the certainty of our markets via means such as promoting the benefits of coastal BC wood as a carbon-friendly building material. Finally, competitiveness is king in these fast-paced markets. We need to have tax and fiscal frameworks in place that allow for investment in new technology and the ability to bridge our skills gaps so people can take advantage of employment opportunities in forestry.
We need to speak our truths more often and more of us in and around the coastal forestry sector need to join the dialogue. Election time can bring an increase of misinformation campaigns and we saw plenty of those this time around. As well, there is a growing disconnect between the resource industries that support our province’s economy and “the noisy [media] arenas of provincial politics and public affairs,” as recently cited by Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of BC. Coast Forest provided its viewpoint a number of times leading up to the election including writing an opinion piece for the Victoria Times Colonist and circulating a new industry Fact Sheet. Coast forestry has made huge strides in sustainability practices, investment in innovation and many other areas. The public needs to know so they can support and help grow these positive new developments .
Partnerships and People
Modern forestry today is made up of more than those working directly within the sector. Our partnerships make up our identity and include: people working in government as well as a myriad of sectors; First Nations people; people working in environmental organizations and people living and working in coastal communities in BC. These people influence how we operate today and plan for the future. We constantly coordinate with each other each shaping our collective efforts to strive to balance economic, social, and environmental priorities within the expanding knowledge base of our modern world. To say that we need to continue to strengthen and nurture these relationships is an understatement.
The 2013 provincial election is now behind us. With the benefit of a stable policy framework provided by the new BC Liberal government, those of us in coastal forestry will continue to work on finding ways to improve our performance, practices and competitiveness. We will meet the challenge of navigating the best way to further build our sector within the policy realm and support this by ensuring we are understood and nurture our partnerships.
Coastal forestry has built a solid base. Now is the time to join together, speak up together and build together.