Removal of Forest Act changes a win for B.C.’s forests, say the New Democrats

VICTORIA – The decision to pull potentially damaging changes to the Forest Act off the table is a win for British Columbia, say the New Democrats.

“I’m pleased that the forest minister heard the calls from environmentalists, forest professionals and the opposition and has removed these sections from Bill 8,” said forest critic Norm Macdonald.

“I had a long conversation with the minister about these proposals and raised my concerns,” said Macdonald. “The proposed changes were deeply problematic, and went in exactly the wrong direction. They threatened public control over B.C.’s landbase and risked hard-won environmental standards.

“I’m glad to see that the minister listened, not only to what I had to say, but to the concerns of thousands of British Columbians who let the Liberal government know that this was simply unacceptable.”

Bill 8, Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, amends a variety of other legislation. The act would have given the minister incredible discretionary powers to sign new tree farm licence agreements and give corporations strong private property rights over vast areas of publicly owned lands.

“This is a time of tremendous challenge for the forest industry. It is also a time where we could find real opportunities,” continued Macdonald. “But we will only maximize these opportunities if we all work together to make the best decisions.

“We heard from industry that it suited no one’s interests to make decisions in the highly politicized environment we are currently experiencing. These decisions, which will impact our forests for generations to come, must be made in a bi-partisan and transparent manner.

B.C.'s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.