I have always believed that an MLA has an important function that goes beyond partisan politics and as an elected representative it’s important to be respectful of all parties on any given issue.
It is for that very reason that I feel the need to respond to comments by MLA Roly Russell, which suggest he cares very little about the plight for the thousands of men and women who will be impacted by recent decisions made by his government.
For months, the Truck Loggers Association has appealed for government to engage with workers to strike a balance that protects critical old growth but also allows working men and women to continue providing for their families and communities in a truly sustainable sector.
They chose instead to make decisions without any meaningful attempt at collaboration, consultation or a full understanding of the impact of their actions that will result in thousands of forest workers losing their jobs.
The MLAs most recent comments suggest his government will be “providing comprehensive supports for workers and communities, including new short-term employment opportunities, creating more local value-added jobs in the sector and providing funds for those interested in transitioning to retirement.”
I would ask Mr. Russell to please share those plans because we are not aware of any specific steps to support workers or communities.
In the meantime, workers, businesses, and communities are left in a vacuum of uncertainty awaiting details on potentially false promises by government.
The MLA says that communities deserve diverse, vibrant economies that aren’t based solely on any one industry.
Again, what specific initiatives does he envision that will replace family supporting jobs that his government is eliminating?
If people were being truthful, many communities have limited options both today and tomorrow.
The Ministry and government have repeatedly and recently stated their desire to work with the forests sector that will actually have the task of implementing their bold new future.
If they want it to work, the time for real collaboration is well past due, but there are still many options to potentially achieve success that works for all concerned.
To not explore and work with those in forestry will inevitably lead to failed policies and consequential impacts to communities and people the government purports to support.
Truck Loggers Association of BC