B.C. Liberal leadership candidates George Abbott and Ed Mayne attend forestry forum at the Truck Loggers' Association convention in Victoria Wednesday.

B.C. Liberals woo coastal loggers

VICTORIA – B.C. Liberal leadership candidates made their pitches to coastal loggers at their annual convention this week, vowing to continue the B.C. government’s efforts to develop Asian export markets and homegrown demand for wood.

Candidates George Abbott, Mike de Jong and Ed Mayne took part in a resource forum Wednesday evening, where they were quizzed on issues important to independent contractors who belong to the Truck Loggers’ Association. Their businesses benefit from input credits under the harmonized sales tax, and all three candidates said the tax has a chance to survive a referendum.

Abbott insisted the HST might win a majority of votes even if the referendum date is moved up to late June as he has advocated. He questions how much attention people would pay to the issue during the summer.

Mayne said he “wholeheartedly” supports the HST, and the province-wide vote should be held on the scheduled date of Sept. 24, to give the government the maximum time to convince people of its merits.

De Jong agreed that the defeat of the HST isn’t inevitable, but added “let’s not kid ourselves” about the chances a majority of taxpayers will vote to keep it.

Business leaders have argued they need the time to demonstrate that lower taxes will translate into lower prices, increased investment and job creation.

All the candidates praised Forests Minister Pat Bell for his efforts to develop export markets for wood products in China. De Jong said India might be “the next China” for B.C. lumber producers.

Abbott offered the most detailed policy recommendations. He called for the restoration of $4 million cut last year from the $22 million budget for B.C.’s Forestry Innovation Initiative. The provincial agency supports China market development projects, the “wood first” program for public construction and other efforts to promote B.C. wood.

Mayne, who resigned as mayor of Parksville to make a late entry to the leadership contest, admitted he knows little about forest policy.

All B.C. Liberal candidates were invited to the forum, but Kevin Falcon, Christy Clark and Moira Stilwell bowed out due to other campaign commitments.

Just Posted

Sushi, sake and silk kimono

“The Kimono of Ichimaru” opening night at Fernie Museum attracts sellout crowd

Mexico-bound Tour Divide riders complete first day, pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody, 6 months since release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

New society to spearhead ramp building project in Fernie

Gracie Lou Foundation launches to make Fernie more inclusive; ramp building event slated for June 22

GALLERY: Week-long Coal Miner Days a huge success

Skate jam set to become a permanent fixture of Coal Miner Days; other events well attended

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Elk Valley Bulls RFC reclaim Kootenay Cup

Elk Valley beats Cranbrook 7-5 to win Kootenay Cup; team off to provincials in September

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Most Read