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

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Nuslhiixwta – A Place of Treasures – celebrates new name

After months of thought and deliberation, Healthy Beginnings now has a new name.

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read