Representatives from major forest industry unions and environmental organizations along with local elected officials and First Nations marched today, July 22, in Port Alberni to rally for sustainable forestry.
The Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC), Unifor, Wilderness Committee and Ancient Forest Alliance are calling on the BC government to end raw-log exports and to prioritize the transition to sustainable second-growth forestry
Scott Fraser, MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim, as well as local First Nations representatives spoke at the rally at Victoria Quay.
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“Raw log exports and other unsustainable practices have resulted in thousands of lost jobs in the coastal forest industry, and it’s got to stop,” said Arnold Bercov, President of the PPWC in a July 22 press release. “If we don’t turn this around these policies will be a death knell for the workers we represent.”
Annually, the BC government permits over six million cubic metres of raw logs to be exported without processing – enough logs to fill over 200,000 logging trucks or when milled to build more than 100,000 homes, states the press release.
The BC coast has lost more than half its mills since the 90’s and has the worst jobs-per-unit-of-timber-harvested ratio in Canada.
The labour and environmental groups plan to work together to advocate for improved policies that protect local jobs and endangered forest ecosystems.