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

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

Enrolment is down across the entire district. File photo
SD 20 experiences small decline in student enrolment

District staff said more parents are homeschooling their children this year due to COVID-19 crisis

Internet service in the West Kootenay is improving thanks to provincial government grants. File photo
COVID-19 support program brings faster internet to rural communities

The province has provided grants to local internet providers

An image from Castlegar city council on Zoom.
Castlegar council decides to keep meeting online

City council meetings will remain online at least until January

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

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)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Glen Byle spent election night at home with his kids. Photo: Submitted
A post-election message from Conservative Party candidate Glen Byle

Glen Byle was a Conservative Party candidate for Kootenay West in the provincial election.

Most Read