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VICTORIA— New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to get serious about creating jobs with B.C. wood in the face of a more than 50 per cent increase in raw log exports.

“Mills in our communities have been dismantled or remain idle while new mills are being built overseas to process our raw logs,” said Bill Routley, New Democrat deputy forest critic. “Liberal policies have devastated communities and put thousands of British Columbians out of work, and continue to keep them out of work while we send raw logs out of the province and out of the country.”

According to a recent B.C. Stats report, unprocessed log exports increased by 56.1 per cent in 2010 “and it appears that log exports are on pace for a similar increase in 2011.”

“Every raw log that leaves this province takes jobs with it,” said Routley. “British Columbians are more than capable of milling wood, yet instead of tying logs to local jobs, the Liberals eliminated the rules which kept British Columbians working.”

Routley emphasized that if the Liberals really cared about creating jobs they would be taking steps to stem the tide of raw log exports in favour of processed lumber that creates family supporting jobs in communities.

“Communities are angry to see truck after truck filled with logs driving through town while their mills remain idle,” said Routley. “Instead of standing up for British Columbians and ensuring that we get full value from our public forests, the Liberals have given up on creating jobs in our communities. We should be working with industry to create positive incentives to ensure that B.C. logs create B.C. jobs.”

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats believe that British Columbia's public resources should be used to create jobs in our communities.