Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Short term gain for long term pain, updated

BC Stats updated data on raw log exports and the volume shipped out of province in March 2014 was up 24% from the preceding month. In the fiscal year ended March 31, producers exported 2.8 times the wood volume exported five years ago.

In fiscal years 2012 to 2014, log exports of BC accelerated, measuring10 times the volume of raw timber shipped in the three final years of the nineties. In the last five years, the volume of logs exports more than quadrupled from the volumes shipped out of province in the last five years of NDP administration.

The following Northern Insight article was first published April 17, 2014.
Yes, things were different in the nineties. In three years ended 1998, log exports totaled little more than $200 million but in 2011-2013, the value was nearly $1 billion. However, growth has not come without consequences.

250news.com, December 2013
"While one Canfor mill shuts down, another opens up, in China."
Business in Vancouver, January, 2014:
"The constant flow of B.C. logs to overseas sawmills is hurting local custom cutters and lumber remanufacturers who rely on the fibre. They are finding it hard to source what keeps them in business..."
The Globe and Mail, October 2013:
"...West Fraser announced that it will close its mill in Houston, B.C., by mid-2014, while Canfor plans to shut down its mill in Quesnel, B.C., next March..."
Ecology and Society, 2013
"We found that the specialty mills ...contributed more jobs per volume of wood consumed and produced, produced more diverse primary and value-added wood products, targeted more diverse markets, and did more trading in logs of different species...

"Although all these activities resulted in more logs flowing toward their highest value use, we found that the specialty mills lacked a secure and adequate timber supply..."

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  1. Time for workers to take over mills as cooperatives. Mondragon will provide advice and assistance.

  2. What's wrong with value added? Why does the BC government insist on killing jobs in BC? How does that fit with Clark's Jobs Plan?

  3. This is plain exporting British Columbia jobs overseas - period.
    The very fact that the BC Liberal government promotes this shows just how little they consider the well being of British Columbian workers. The government should be aware that no jobs = no pay and no money to spend on other goods and services, and last but not least a very diminished tax revenue.
    Oh - to have qualified real professionals run this province, but that will never happens due to politics eh!

  4. The BC Fed must have something to say about this?

    Valued added will have spin-off benefits, well beyond lumber and plywood.

    Off the top of my head there would be an increased need for rail, trucking, retail and designers. Imagine BC supplying most of the pre-fabs built for the oil and gas industry or for eco-housing?

    Someone familiar with the trades would be able to identify all the trades (and apprentices) that would be necessary to support the development of value added.
    July Morning

  5. Oh we do have qualified professionals running the province.....there called CORPORATIONS

  6. Big oil wants to do the same thing! build a pipeline with TFW, then sell bitumen to Asia, that way they maximize profit without having to hire Canadians to run refinery's, when you have Harper pimping for big oil and Christy Clark lobbing for pipelines although she claims ignorance about it, the country is in trouble. I just hope people wake up soon before its to late!

  7. Thanks, Norm, for reminding that increasing log exports continue apace. Some of us remember mill workers warning all who cared to listen of the consequences---nowadays neo-rightists write them off as an historic special interest that selfishly skimmed the profiteers' due by way of refining some of that "raw" resource in the communities whence it was harvested. The ghosts of idled mill towns no longer spoil the party as BC Liberals prophesy prosperity for BC families---a celebratory din that doesn't ring much farther these days than the floor of the annual Truck Loggers' Association Convention, an org that makes its money hauling logs to ships bound for offshore manufactures; it now dominates a sector of which it was previously a smaller part.

    Raw log export doesn't stand alone: the planned obsolescence of forest inventory is another, integrated legacy of Gordon Campbell's byzantine sabotage of the public weal; 12 years of neglect, during which time fires, logging, insects and disease have been woven into a dizzying context of administrative dys-management, now facilitates the next item on the agenda: accessing timber in protected areas, parks and ecological conservation zones. It's more difficult to make a case against, for example, the recent parks legislation, which allows for the curious activity of "research" in parklands, without reliable inventory data---and it should be noted that twelve-year-old data has as much veracity as just picking numbers out of the air.

    Only a few years ago the BC Liberals ruminated about "opening up" protected areas to "compensate" loggers for timber "lost" to the pine beetle. Without up-to-date inventory data the fact that this idea would swap low-value lodgepole pine (what the beetle killed) for higher-value tree species might be obscured (besides, loggers didn't own the beetle-killed pine, so why do they need to be "compensated" for its "loss"?)

    As JK Galbraith noted, only a "culture of contentment" could buy the logic that no future is worth planning for or sustaining if you're not going to be around to profit from it---which kinda hypocritizes the neo-right notion that financing sustainability is an unacceptable "burden" on our grandchildren.

    Your relentless exposes are a bulwark against what would otherwise be a sad paraphrase, "When they came for the mill workers, I said nothing..."

  8. No more logs to China...this rapid moral decay can no longer be ignored. Can you imagine what the Chinese think of our public representatives selling us out?

    It's not enough to call out our governments, we must be personally scrupulous in all our dealings... Note to self no more bs excuses for trading with the dark-siders : Walmart is NO different then the others, ... the employees are happy (unless you have witnessed their "floor motivational meetings" in the isolated gaunch dept in the early morning--hello 1984...) it's non-elitist, is competative and affordable...the seniors who work and shop there are sweet and contribute to the more laid back atmosphere than the Muzac/ aggressive shopper environment of the other slick mega stores...

    So long Walmart, even with the finite choices in my town, there's nothing I need bad enough to fund the Walton's power lust

    (hey union people who shop at Walmart you might want to read this):



  9. All this began back in Gordon Campbell's reign of terror. Fadden of CSIS warned of Communist China's huge inroads into our country. BC was specifically mentioned because, Campbell had already give much of BC to China. Harper and Campbell worked hand in hand to dismantle BC. Christy Clark is no better. She lied to us regarding the Enbridge pipeline. Christy out and out blatantly lied about her 100,000 jobs for BC.

    This entire country is, rotten to the core with corruption. To be rid of Harper and his corrupt regime and the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals? We would have to mutiny and drive them out of the country.
    This theft of BC's resources, has been going on for absolute years. And, those thefts of our resources won't stop, unless we stop them.

  10. These companies that are shipping raw logs should have their TFL's taken away,they were given them on the grounds they were providing jobs for people in B.C....TFL=tree farm licence...no jobs in mills,no logging

  11. The "removal" of Canadian resources, continues, with it goes the middle class and high paying jobs. Unless the public begins to take a real hard line against the current kleptocratic regimes in this country, we deserve the consequence. Low wages, mcjobs, foreign workers, and a dubious future at best. Processing of all resources should be kept in this country. Whatever happened to value added? Oh, sorry that went out the window with the free trade con game....

    1. You're not completely correct there. We're even losing McJobs.

      McDonald's operators have learned to use the Temporary Foreign Worker program to import people from third world nations to serve as compliant and cheap servants in their food emporiums.

      Like the Claude Rains character in Casablanca, McDonald's executives are "Shocked, shocked to find that TFW abuse is going on in here!"


    2. Another reason to not shop at McDonalds, as if we needed any more.

    3. McDonald's is not the only fast food place that has used "temporary" foreign workers. Denny's Restaurants (Gagliardi family) did a 7-figure class action settlement in favour of workers imported from the Phillipines. those people raised various accusations of abuse and claimed that Denny's coerced them in efforts to stop the law suit.

      Based on language skills, or lack of them, I'm convinced Tim Hortons are big users of TFWs too.

      TFWs have been used in many retail places in ways akin to the abuse of people in BC agriculture and various industries. Ethnic groups are particularly vulnerable when informal community sanctions discourage people from raising complaints over standards of work and safety.

      Employers who want to take advantage of employees once worried about enforcement of labour standards. Business groups and compliant politicians claim that's unnecessary red tape so enforcement is now mostly imaginary. At least social media provides a way to shame the worst employers.

    4. TFWs and 3 Mcdonalds in Victoria were featured on both Island news stations Monday evening. Federal minister James Kenney is asking for information from other possible abuses of the programme, as are Chek news.

      Pretty much narrows it down to most of the fast food joint chains.

      To the main point Norm of log exports. Here on the mid. Island it's a constant stream of trucks hauling to the log dumps. I'm wondering if figures exist for the amount of trucks not using Duke point ferry terminal since 2001, before which, trucks carrying dimension lumber were stacked up. Thus making the original intention of Duke point for truck traffic a reason to close it.

    5. There is something even more egregious than McDonalds displacing Canadian residents with TFWs, than Royal Bank forcing Canadians to train the foreigners who would replace them, than restaurateurs housing 26 foreign workers in one single family residence. That is the current crop of Conservative and Liberal politicians who place the interests of business ahead of the interests of Canadian people.

    6. BC still has jobs harvesting and transporting timber but years ago there were thousands of value added jobs in coastal communities. Powell River, Alberni, Crofton, Harmac and many other centres. Our objective should be to maximize revenue to the provincial economy and exporting raw logs is the worst of all options in the long run. Today, of course, forestry creates income for loggers and transporters and a few export sales people.but that's only a fraction of the potential return.

      That specialty wood mills face closure over lack of fiber should be the biggest news story in BC. Instead, we're going to be focused on who leads the Canucks.

  12. Yes I would agree with the last comment. The obfiscation and manipulation of the common man in this country, including the "dumbing down" of the media, by corporate" orginizations, is a type of "engineered" ideological subversion. Our so called ethical politicians have become "tools" of this new"disease", and have unwittingly or otherwise been embracing its idea's then discovering the mess they create after policies are implemented. A complete reversal of democratic principles under the guise of neo-liberal and ultra conservative values,(read advanced corpratism), has been fostered on Canadians. The continued manipulation of our values and principles will continue, as most people do not seem interested. As the middle class continues to collapse and the ever widening gulf between the haves and the have nots increases, the majority of hard working people in this country will see their income eroded and their vision of a once proud democratic country disappear in a cloud of corporate and political greed....
    p.n. I stand corrected Norm on my previous comment regarding "Mcjobs".....

  13. Re your tweet about BC wage growth: it must be pretty good if it's keeping ahead of inflation, given how the price of everything is going up (hydro, stamps, ferries, MSP, ICBC etc).

    1. You suggest a topic worthy of review. How accurate are the inflation numbers of StatsCan? In fact, for individuals, not very, because we each live in different circumstances. However, I've heard credible people argue that the official Consumper Price Index is manipulated for political reasons. "Baskets" are altered occasionally and that is more art than science.

      Anyone in Vancouver's housing market will be surprised that StatsCanada reports the costs for shelter in this city increased at an average rate less than 1.4% annually from 2002 to 2014.

    2. I think they want to say that inflation is low, to justify keeping interest rates low. If interest rates go up, as they would normally do in a period of inflation, we would all go bust due to all the mortgage debt and government debt.
      But they don't tell us that!

    3. Certainly savings rates are low. The TD rate for "everyday savings" up to $5,000 is 1/4 of 1 %. TD's "high interest savings account" rate up to $5,000 is 0%.

      Lending rates for the most credit worthy and people who don't need money are low but many pay fees (insurance etc.) in addition to interest while others must use high interest credit cards or are forced to "alternative" lenders where rates up to 30% and more apply. "Payday" loans with annualized rates, including fees, above 500% are common in Canada.

  14. Pop. Australia 23 million
    Pop. BC 4.6 million
    Debt Australia 68.1 billion
    Debt BC 64.7 billion

    What the hell has this government done? Absolutely appalling numbers.

    1. LNG gonna pay off our debt, so they say. Kids gonna learn how to weld pipelines.


  15. http://youtu.be/X8r4xaQG3Eg

    BC raw log and jobs exported on TV

  16. In the Saturday Sun, there's a report on business with China. The caption under the photo says, "Topping the list of B.C. goods heading to China was $1.4 billion worth of lumber."

    The photo shows a freighter full of raw logs. At least the bark has been stripped off, so we can use it in our gardens. There's our value-added.

    (In their comments section, I left a link to your story, Norm.)

  17. http://www.250news.com/2015/07/08/tpp-trade-deal-will-restrictions-on-raw-log-exports-be-eliminated/



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