Friday, March 07, 2008

Vancouver Art Gallery - $50 million; forestry workers $0 and a "roundtable" - that's Premier Campbell's response to 10,000 lost forestry jobs

The BC forest industry has lost a stunning 10,000 jobs in the last year, as mills and plants closed throughout the province.

Hardest hit - BC's Interior, North.and Vancouver Island.

So how does Premier Gordon Campbell respond to this crisis?

The answer came in two parts.

First, the BC budget and throne speech gave the battered forest industry exactly $0 in funding and a "roundtable" to deal with its problems.

Yesterday came the second part - Campbell delivered $50 million in funding for a new Vancouver Art Gallery building yesterday, part of a total of $209 million in arts and culture projects.

I am a proud member of the Vancouver Art Gallery, one of the finest collections in the country of great art. It deserves public, corporate and government support.

But unemployed forestry workers and their familes have to come first.

What kind of priorities does the BC Liberal government have? Obviously the wrong one.

10,000 workers have no job to go to, no income except Employment Insurance and a dubious future in their chose industry.

This is the time for bold solutions, for innovative programs - for help for forest industry dependent communities that have been the backbone of BC's economy for more than a century.

Because without our forest industry there would be no art galleries in this province.

Art is important. The choice is not between the Vancouver Art Gallery and forest workers. We have an economy strong enough to support both.

But this government is only supporting one, and it sure as hell isn't the forestry worker.

What a disgusting situation.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the roundtable will be made out of wood. Then he can say, without lying, that the BC Liberals helped the forest industry.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they will make the roundtable out of wood. Then the BC Liberals can say (without lying) that they helped the forest industry.

kootcoot said...

Do you think Bill that this"

"Hardest hit - BC's Interior, North.and Vancouver Island."

has anything to do with the fact that the coast is the most efficient region for harvesting and shipping raw logs? Forestry workers except for fallers and those necessary to skid or haul logs to the salt chuck are redundant and welcome to live in the DTES from where they can occasionally hike over west of Granville and check out the wonderful Art Gallery.

To Anon-0-Mouse above - even if the "roundtable" is made of wood from BC, the table itself will probably be made in China, or if they are seeking real class, Germany.

Tell Lorne M. not to be afraid when if I come over to that part of town. I'm just checking up on how they used my $50 million and if I can afford to enter will gaze at Emily Carr paintings to remind me of days gone by when I worked in the woods.

Gary E said...

You,re right Bill. This stinks big time. Logging related deaths and injuries are on the increase. Mainly because this government gutted the Safety act and then the Minister of Forests hung the industry out to dry. I live in the area which now has over 1100 workers out of work. Make no mistake when the companies say "or longer" you can bet the farm, or the forest that it will be longer.

What I have trouble comprehending is that the party on the Government Side of the house just doesn't seem to see the hypocracy in a move like this. To me the whole thing is just a Photo Op for Campbell. I think he actually imagines himself as the sitting Premier of this Province when the olympics start. Have I got news for him. Doesn't it seem strange to you that everything they are doing or asked to do is being stalled? Basi-Virk, Seniors homes, investigation into the Convention Center cost over-run fiasco and on and on.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against art. Art is something that all countries shouldhave, but large amounts of money should be set aside when a lot of folks are losing their jobs. The province has tons of money for roofs for the stadium, a 400 million over budget convention center, a couple of blocks from the existing one, and anything that can be connected to the big games of 2010.

The workers simply don't count, especially the island ones as they didn't vote Liberal/ Socred last time around. Pathetic way to treat the folks who spent so many years making the lumber companies rich. Way to go Gordon, you are screwing us one more time. when will the voters catch on? DL

Anonymous said...

What's most pathetic is that if the Premier was prepared to commit $50M (the same amount promised to the VAG) to do something meaningful to retool the forest industry, he wouldn't have the slightest idea what to do. The man knows how to shop and spend, but he doesn't know how to lead a province.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, misplaced priorities. The Libs can have the West End. Every time voters drive by the Cambie ditch, they snear. And they are not snearing at the NDP: they cheer Robertson's scrutiny of that avoidable mess. Pour the concrete, already!

Anonymous said...

The word on one of our local(Vancouver) radio station by the 3 pundits(when are they going to announce themselves as Liberal candidates)is that because all the tax dollars come from the Lower Mainland or Metro Vancouver as they have bought into that the rest of the province is a drain on Vancouver and too much is spent elsewhere. These three also cheer lead run of the river projects because we are so short of power. The idea the lower mainland is all powerful means it is time for the province of Vancouver Island.

Anonymous said...

I had a conversation with a pulp mill worker on V.I. the other day and he said the whole industry is broken and it is a disgrace.

He said that the pulp wood is being left in the hills, after cutting every thing in sight, pulling the best trees out then pilling the rest into big heaps and burning it.

Then they are chipping good lumber logs for the pulp right on the pulp mill site!

Campbell and company has to go. This is truly disgusting.

Anonymous said...

So much for the "Best place on earth"
How dares Campbell and his crew treat citizens this way.
Surely a day of reckoning will come. Let's make it!

kootcoot said...

And to think I thought times were bad and weird when at the old Kootenany Forest Products Mill (I refuse to list all the name changes)they were loading trucks with top grade peeler logs (originally bucked to go on the lathe) for their trip to Castlegar and a trip through the chipper in order to be made into pulp.

At least these raw logs were being processed "elsewhere" in Canada. Though certainly not with any regard for extracting high value.

Gordo must feel good when he wakes in the morning realizing that they have managed to eliminate virtually every family supporting "union" job in Nelson, in the woods, mills, forest service, land planning and ex-university.

Now if only they can come up with a plan to eliminate those pesky steelworkers in Trail and pulp workers in Castlegar. Maybe then we Kootenay folks could grovel in the same low wage, third world labor environment enjoyed by the Mexicans in the "maquiladoras."

I love the smell of NAFTA in the morning, and TILMA and SPP.

Budd Campbell said...

Bill, I have to ask if this BC Liberal Govt is reluctant to spend money on retraining laid off forest sector employees given what happened to the NDP Govt's Forest Renewal BC? With Star Liberal-in-waiting Dave Haggard on the board, FRBC spent generously on retraining and income support, and in the end even Haggard himself ridiculed the assistance provided and shed no tears when the agency was closed.

FRBC was supposed to be a "stakeholder agency". It appears to have been captured and exploited by the said stakeholders to such an extreme degree that these very same stakeholders were too embarassed to speak up on its behalf when the BC Liberals chose to terminate it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "great art" an oxymoron??
Horny Toad

Anonymous said...

What is the BC Govt doing to disuade / tax / prevent companies with HQ in Quebec from closing down BC offices and moving the functions and creating jobs back east? The severance packages are unfair and if the company can get away with not paying proportional bonus or pay for sufficient notice they do. And these are companies that are not shrinking due to US demand - no, they are profitable and growing income trusts.

Anonymous said...

CAMPBELL AND CO DO NOT GIVE A TINKER'S DAMN ABOUT FORESTRY WORKERS OR ANY WORKERS FOR THAT MATTER. BUT I WISH HE WOULD NOT MIX WITH THE ART GALLERY. I AM A MEMBER TOO. MOST OF MY FELLOW ART SCHOOL STUDENTS AND FRIENDS WHO ATTEND THE ART GALLERY ON A FREQUENT BASIS ARE IN AGREEMENT. MOVING THE VAG TO THE PLAZA OF NATIONS IS A VERY, VERY BAD IDEA.

Anonymous said...

CAMPBELL AND CO DO NOT GIVE A TINKER'S DAMN ABOUT FORESTRY WORKERS OR ANY WORKERS FOR THAT MATTER. BUT I WISH HE WOULD NOT MIX WITH THE ART GALLERY. I AM A MEMBER TOO. MOST OF MY FELLOW ART SCHOOL STUDENTS AND FRIENDS WHO ATTEND THE ART GALLERY ON A FREQUENT BASIS ARE IN AGREEMENT. MOVING THE VAG TO THE PLAZA OF NATIONS IS A VERY, VERY BAD IDEA.