Logging trucks gather from around the B.C. Interior to head to downtown Vancouver for protest and meeting with NDP government officials at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, Sept. 27, 2019. (B.C. Logging Convoy/Facebook)

B.C. VOTES 2020: NDP vows log quotas, community building fund

Forest, industrial communities look for help in election platforms

A year ago, NDP leader John Horgan’s government was facing a long truck convoy of out-of-work loggers in downtown Vancouver and farmers protesting on the B.C. legislature steps in Victoria.

One of the issues was the province’s move to cancel a $25 million “rural dividend” fund, shelving community applications to diversify local economies that have lost forest and other industrial employment. The money went toward retraining and other relief for the four latest victims of rural mill closures, Quesnel, Fort St. James, Vavenby and Chasm.

That kind of cost restraint goes out the window with the B.C. NDP’s pandemic election plan, which features a $3 billion-per-year “recovery investment fund” to add to the government’s $23 billion capital works budget for schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure.

The NDP platform, the first to be released in full for the surprise Oct. 24 election, also adds another $400 million program to “revitalize community infrastructure,” likely based on applications from municipalities like the late, lamented rural dividend.

RELATED: NDP launches platform, more COVID-19 payments

RELATED: We’ll get on with Massey bridge, B.C. Liberals say

The big news on forest policy is a vow to “dedicate a specific portion of the annual allowable cut towards higher value producers who can demonstrate their ability to create new jobs.” That is a step beyond additional fees and wood salvage regulations that the NDP government has imposed on an industry with widespread shutdowns in recent years.

The NDP platform promises only to continue “significant investments” in tree planting, wildfire protection and silviculture. Other industries get more vague support.

“We’ll create a Mining Innovation Hub to identify and support innovation, offering training for workers in new technologies, regulatory excellence, environmental management and low-carbon approaches,” the party says.

Agriculture gets a similar mention, with a promise of a new “regenerative agriculture network” to merge traditional farming with technologies “such as robotics, precision farming, and mesh networks.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben Williams, second from left, receives the Rotary Club of Duncan Student of the Month Award for September from club president Gregg Perry and Student of the Month program coordinator Kim Barnard. To the left is teacher sponsor Tom Veenstra. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian standout is Rotary Student of the Month for September

Ben Williams has made an impression at DCS since day one

Cowichan LMG’s Michael Fusick plows through a Nanaimo defender during last Friday’s game at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Depth a concern for Cowichan LMG

Div. 1 club expecting reinforcements soon

The City of Duncan is applying to the province for a grant that would cover most of the costs of the new Cairnsmore roundabout that is planned the intersection of Government, College and Cairnsmore streets. (File photo)
City of Duncan looking to grant to cover cost of Cairnsmore traffic circle

Federal government would cover 60%, province would pick up the other 40%.

Angie Fournier. who served as office coordinator for the Cowichan Lake Community Services, stands with the society’s community bus in this picture. (File photo)
Community Service Society vital for Lake Cowichan

Dozens of programs and other services offered

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read