The federal NDP says it will take measures to boost B.C.’s forestry sector should it win the upcoming Canadian federal election.
At a campaign stop at Harmac Pacific mill in Cedar Wednesday, Peter Julian, NDP House Leader, and Sheila Malcolmson, NDP Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate said the NDP will work to lessen the amount of raw log exports.
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Julian said the NDP would work with provincial governments to reduce raw log exports and protect export restrictions in proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with Pacific Rim countries.
“When we look at the overall approach on the forestry industry, we create many more jobs with the same level of harvesting, if we’re ensuring that rather than exporting raw logs, so that they’re manufactured and the value-added production takes place outside the country, that it happens here in communities like Nanaimo.
“So what we end up with is much more of a win-win situation where there are more jobs created,” said Julian.
The NDP promised to institute an innovation tax credit of $40 million annually to aid forest product manufacturers and sawmills in the purchasing of new equipment in order to maintain competitive edge.
Additionally, the party said it would cut a small business tax to nine per cent from 11 over two years, in a move intended to aid small forestry businesses.
Gerald de Jong, Pulp and Paper Woodworkers union local president, said he was pleased with the announcement, as it would help an ailing industry.
“When logs leave, the chips leave, the hog fuel leaves. They shut mills down in order to have excess logs to do it, just because someone wants to pay a higher price for it across the way and then you shut a sawmill down that use to run those logs, for profit … there’s a lot of laid off people right now that used to have great paying jobs in mills.”
Levi Sampson, president of Harmac Pacific, echoed de Jong’s sentiments and is happy that it is an election issue.
“That someone’s willing to look at that issue and to change the percentages of raw logs that are going offshore, that’s a good thing,” said Sampson.