In the course of their investigation, JCOAL representatives are examining:
- the expected impact on greenhouse gas and other noxious emissions
- the technical impacts on power plant combustion and performance
- Canadian raw material supply, forestry regulations, and sustainability
- the ability of the Canadian transportation network – roads, rail and ports – to handle the expected traffic increase
- willingness of Canadian companies to ramp up production
- visits to the University of British Columbia (UBC) where we met with professors and scientists from the faculties of forestry and engineering;
- a half-day seminar at the offices of the BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology (JTT) that included representatives of JTT, WPAC producer-members, terminal operators, CN Rail, Sumitomo, and UBC;
- a forest management presentation from Canfor and a tour of the company’s seedling nursery; and
- visits to pellet plants near Prince George.
This is entirely at odds with its 2018 throne speech in which the B.C. government committed to ensure that timber will continue to generate good jobs in forest-dependent communities, maintain and enhance the competitiveness of our forest industry, while diversifying the industry with increases in manufactured wood, and work with industry, First Nations, workers and communities to make forestry even stronger, and maximize the value B.C. gets out of each log.
What are we left to think when the Ministry responsible for executing this part of the government’s commitment to its citizens can’t be bothered to participate in a major initiative to increase exports to Japan? We can be sure that the Japanese government will not be impressed.
Just a few weeks ago, forests minister Doug Donaldson led a B.C. trade mission to Asia where he said, “There are certain things that government can do to ensure we have jobs in rural communities that depend on forestry, and there are areas where it’s difficult to exert influence on as a government – global markets on lumber prices, for instance, but this trade mission is one example of something where the B.C. government has a very legitimate and importance role, and we are acting on it to make sure that there will continue to be rural jobs in forestry.”
We invite Minister Donaldson to remind his team that the wood pellet sector is part of the forest industry.
Gordon Murray is the executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canda. www.pellet.org.