The B.C. Liberal government has, since December, been exporting raw logs that its own advisory committee has been saying should be going to producers in B.C.
On Tuesday, New Democratic Party leader Adrian Dix said the Timber Export Advisory Committee (TEAC) determined last December that logs from Quatsino Sound on Vancouver Island should be sold to Teal-Jones of Surrey instead of being shipped overseas.
But Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson overruled that recommendation, Dix said, allowing the logs to be sold into foreign markets.
The ministry said that staff overturned TEAC recommendations on 86 applications in December and January, covering 70,145 cubic metres.
In February, the ministry stopped referring anything to the committee from the west coast of Vancouver Island, as they expected the decisions would be overturned. There were 47 offers in February, comprising 35,532 cubic metres.
Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail reports that a political backlash against raw log exports has forced the Liberals to launch a review.
There has been a shift in the long-running battle over raw log exports in British Columbia, to the advantage of industries that profit from shipping logs overseas. The winner of this fight – within the forest industry and within the B.C. government – will be declared this spring.
Log exports roughly doubled last year, bringing much-needed cash into coastal logging companies, but creating a political backlash in the process. So, as with so many conflicts facing the Clark government, the province launched a review, which is due in the next few months.
“I don’t think anybody in British Columbia wants to see us exporting non-milled logs,” Premier Christy Clark said this week. “The point of the review is making sure we can manage, and hopefully diminish, the amount of raw log exports in British Columbia.”