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

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf ready for summer season

The plan is to have the Northern Sea Wolf assume the mid-coast service as of May 18

Historic building in Alexis Creek destroyed by fire overnight

“If it hadn’t been a heavy rain last night we could have lost many houses in the area”

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

OP-ED: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

Dennis Patterson, Senator for Nunavut, on protecting Canada’s environment and economy with Bill C-48

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read