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

Newly elected Hope politicians took part in the Local Government Leadership Academy

The three-day event is aimed at helping new mayors and councillors navigate municipal politics

No records were beat, but Hope’s February temperatures aren’t average

Normally around 3C, the sub-zero temperatures made for both good and bad in the Fraser Valley

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

More people in Chiliwack coming in to shelters to get out of the cold

Ruth and Naomi’s went over-capacity this week to accommodate shelter guests coming in from the cold

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Man taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, burns after fire at RV park

Firefighters find man suffering from smoke inhalation, burns to face and hands: battalion chief

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Most Read