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

Edgewood Elementary at 16666 23 Ave., behind the City of Surrey’s operations building, is to open in January 2021. (File photo)
New catchment areas for South Surrey elementaries

Changes to take effect as pair of new schools open, starting next week

The B.C. electoral district of Surrey-Cloverdale. (Image via Elections B.C.)
Voter turnout down across Surrey-Cloverdale

Turnout across the province down from 2017

sign
‘Camp Covid’ for Halloween at Surrey home where decorator ponders trick-or-treat numbers

Dr. Henry: ‘This is not the year we’re going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses’

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Glenn Rose

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

File Photo
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Agassiz Seniors Community

First declared outbreak in Agassiz-Harrison since pandemic began

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The family and friends of Abbotsford resident Kaitlyn Cassels have launched a GoFundMe for her after she suffered serious injuries following a bad fall on Thursday night. (Submitted)
GoFundMe created for Abbotsford woman after horrible fall

19-year-old Kaitlyn Cassels suffers many injuries after falling 27 feet off Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Most Read