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Canadian resources should mean more Canadian jobs
Raw-logs exports and wood-manufacturing jobs were issues put in the crosshairs by outspoken Chemainus mill workers days before Monday’s federal election.
Boosting Canadian pensions, promoting our military peacekeeping role, and fostering political party cooperation were also major issues among three workmates.
“It’s a short-term view,” Chemainus mill employee Chris Hardy said of raw-log exports.
“We’re logging like crazy and exporting like crazy.
“We should be looking at how sustainable we are, and why not do more at home regarding manufacturing? Wood’s a renewable resource but we’re not managing it correctly, so it won’t grow fast enough.”
Hardy recognized log exports are partly in Victoria’s bailiwick, but he and his workmates want the feds to act nationally and internationally against what he saw as a wasteful practice.
“We don’t have the leadership that promotes environmental awareness,” he said.
“It’s win-win — if we grow a healthier environment, everyone benefits.”
Lorne Raulston wanted federal tax breaks for big corporations tied to jobs “or don’t give them any breaks — and they have to be substantial jobs.”
He’s sick of government handouts with little payback.
“Right now, our government just gives them a big bag of money and says ‘Thank you.’
“It’s very short-sighted to be exporting our logs because it take 50 years to make them of value to be run through a mill,” said Raulston.
“If they’re exporting our natural resources there should be a way around the NAFTA agreement.”
He suggested a land fee for log exporters.
“We need a way to get more money into provincial and federal coffers to make our lives better in Canada.”
Raulston simply wanted everyone paying their fair share.
“Log exports are just quick, easy money not long term, and manufacturing jobs create lots of spin-offs.”
Brent Browning was on the same page.
“If they allow export logs, someone should get jobs out of it.
“We ship out more logs now than ever before — and it’s some of the best wood — primarily to Japan, and some to the U.S. and China.
“It’s a B.C. issue but the federal government still has some power over private land.”
“The government still has the right to tax those logs as they go out. Right now, it’s a free-for-all.”
But governments continue allowing timber exports because big businesses put money into big party coffers, he said.
“Our communities are affected by what’s happened in the forest industry that’s been managed by profit,” said Browning.
Meanwhile, taxes and benefits were also pressing issues among working folks, Browning said.
“Everyone wants less taxes and more benefits, like pensions, for sure.”
Including Raulston, who wanted Parliamentary idea sharing, not squabbling and lost economic potential.
“Each party has good points and co-operation’s a great idea.
“You get better legislation with a coalition. I’d support a Liberal-NDP coalition to get rid of (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper.”
Raulston was riled the Tories spent $30 billion of taxpayer dough on fighter planes.
“Our forces should be the most well-trained in the world as a peacekeeping force in blue hats.
“But our troops are being sent to two wars (Afghanistan, Libya) and I have a real question if we should be there.”
We asked the federal election candidates:
What is your plan to attract manufacturing businesses to Canada?
Conservative John Koury: a low tax policy for Canadian job creators, eliminated tariffs on machinery and equipment and on production inputs allowing manufacturers to keep jobs in Canada and create new ones.
Green Party’s Anne Marie Benoit: re-negotiate trade agreements so that instead of shipping out raw logs and unprocessed pulp, we’ll develop businesses based on them here.
Liberal Brian Fillmore: our future potential industries will be found in the ‘champion’ sectors of renewable energy, green technology and knowledge-based industry.
NDP Jean Crowder: green technology jobs both in manufacturing and renewable energy, a Green Jobs Fund through reinvestments of subsidies paid to fossil fuel industries, and we will give business a tax credit for new local hires.
Marxist-Leninist Jack East: Canada owns and controls a real Canadian Mint that can be used to finance all businesses, and to eliminate tax bases. Worker ownership and control of those resources.
We asked the federal election candidates:
What will you do about Canadian raw-log exports?
Conservative John Koury: Targetted investments in industry and low taxes for job creators are keeping fallers, truckers, longshoremen and mill workers employed and we have opened new global markets for Canadian forest products.
Green Party’s Anne Marie Benoit: The Green Party will re-negotiate trade agreements to encourage more value-added manufacturing and bring in a whole log export tax. We will move quickly towards stopping raw log exports.
Liberal Brian Fillmore: If we banned raw log exports, we would put many more out of work. In less than 10 years, (B.C. Liberal) policy has meant Asian lumber exports have risen 10 fold and in the past 18 months, 24 new mills have opened.
NDP Jean Crowder: The NDP will ban raw log exports, (and) create the conditions that make processing raw logs more economically viable than exporting them through tax incentives and a forestry strategy that includes private lands.
Marxist-Leninist Jack East: Reinstitution of selective logging, which only harvests to leave all the soils on the mountain sides, make sure all trade must be mutually beneficial, making U.S. Neo-Colonial treaties immediately scrapped.