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Stop the Spray BC calls on province to block Canfor’s proposed sale of timber harvesting rights to McLeod Lake Indian Band

James Steidle, Stop the Spray BC

Stop the Spray BC says the province should block the Canfor pending sale of timber harvesting rights to the McLeod Lake Indian Band. In addition, the group wants the province to strip Canfor of its tenure.

The deal, worth an estimated $70 million, follows a similar deal made with Peak Renewables where Canfor made a $30 million deal selling its timber rights in the Fort Nelson Timber Supply Area.

In both cases, Canfor had shut down the mills and had been providing no local manufacturing jobs, says James Steidle of Stop the Spray BC.

“If a forestry company isn’t providing mill jobs with its tree farm licences or forestry licenses to cut, fair compensation for taking back those licences should be $0,” said Steidle in a news release. “They should not be a tradeable asset for these corporations already earning billion dollar profits.”

Timber harvesting rights in B.C. across much of the province were handed out for no payment and were instead provided on the condition of employment and wildlife and fisheries management, he added. 

The 1990 Review of Forest Tenures in British Columbia clearly states that the Forest Act granted tenures in exchange for “employment opportunities and other social benefits,” along with “managing for water, fisheries and wildlife resources.”

“At the end of the day, this contract never changed,” said Steidle. “At no point did we ever pass a law saying or intending that we were to give timber rights away altogether with no expectation of employment, community, or environmental considerations in return.

“We never elected a single politician or government who said they would do this. In other words, that we would allow private companies and oligarchs to completely monetize exclusive access to a public asset and exploit it with nothing for the public in exchange, like what we are seeing today.”

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