16 March 2009

Local Forestry Leader with a Conscience

Rick Doman is the former President and CEO of Doman Industries Ltd. A good man and a local hero, he is one of the few business owners in forestry whose dealings in business, in the community and with his workers were guided by a strong social conscience.

An article written by Mr. Doman appeared in our local paper today. He talks of solutions and the need to correct mistakes of the past, including the "very poor softwood settlement" rushed through by the Harper Conservatives.
In 2003 the government also introduced new forest policies that have caused significant job loss in the B.C. forest sector. These policy changes included allowing forest companies to leave pulp logs in the woods. This caused pulp and paper companies to have to import pulp logs from as far away as Alaska at above market prices, along with importing wood chips from Washington and Oregon.

Poor policies also caused the increase of log exports, and in some cases we were importing wood chips back into B.C. from the very same logs we exported. Also the 20 per cent takeback from all coastal tenure holders with more than 200,000 annual allowable cut [AAC] was a mistake.

It would have been better to takeback AAC from forest companies that exported logs and did not operate manufacturing faculties in coastal B.C. in line with the AAC they held. This would have allowed companies who did not wish to operate manufacturing operations in coastal B.C. equal to their AAC, to give up any AAC they did not match.

Companies that did wish to operate their manufacturing operations, like Doman Industries, could have retained their AAC, thus not having to shut down operations that were efficient and would retain and create jobs in coastal B.C.

The government was advised prior to 2003 about this, it ignored the advice and its policies have caused long-term damage to forest workers, environmental standards and sustainable forests.

The crown owns about 94 per cent of B.C. forests. It is important government does not try to semi-privatize crown forests or the B.C. taxpayers will suffer even more than they have....

B.C. has been blessed by a lot of timber. If it is harvested in a sound environmentally and sustainable way, using proper stumpage systems that are fair and equitable, we can restore our forest industry.

The government was advised as early as 2001 [that] they would fail forest workers, communities, and also forest companies that wanted to grow and build a business in B.C.

It is time to correct those policies so both current and future generations of forest workers, forest dependent communities and B.C. taxpayers can once again benefit from our forests.

Advice well worth listening to.

(Hmm... wonder if Mr. Doman would consider a new career, one in politics.)

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