BY PETER EWART
Special to the News
What is happening to Mackenzie and other forestry manufacturing communities in the province of British Columbia is completely unacceptable. For too long, forestry manufacturing has been based on the interests of global corporations and governments in their service at the expense of workers and communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. And far too often, it these big corporations and senior levels of government that dominate the discussion as to what is to be done.
This way of doing things has been a major factor contributing to the many mill closures, layoffs and curtailments across the province, as well as the deteriorated state of the forests, whether it be by over-harvesting, unscientific and shortsighted forest policy and practices, unequal tenure policies, refusal to develop secondary processing, elimination of oversight, runaway companies, and the list goes on and on.
For many decades, the workforce of Mackenzie has produced a huge amount of added value in the form of corporate profit and revenue, stumpage fees, and taxes for the big companies and government. In the uncertain, precarious economic conditions of today, we need a forest industry that takes as its reference point the interests of the whole community which includes workers, unions, Indigenous peoples, foresters, contractors, businesses, local governments, and others. This reference point must be one in which their voices and their expertise are centre stage in addressing the current challenges in forestry, as well as sustaining strong, liveable communities.
To their credit, the people of Mackenzie are organizing a community rally – MackenzieMatters – at noon, on Thursday, August 22 (by the forestry building and marching to the Mackenzie Rec Centre). They deserve support from everyone across the region and province.
For further information go to Mackenzie Matters Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/920949854923659/
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, BC. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org