COLUMN: Forestry deserves to be discussed in Ottawa

COLUMN: Forestry deserves to be discussed in Ottawa

Federal throne speech will occur on Dec. 5

One of the reasons why I write weekly MP reports is so citizens can be informed and follow events occurring in Ottawa and by extension hold myself and MP’s from other parties to account.

As much as I would like to share events occurring in Ottawa this week, unfortunately the House of Commons is still not in session.

Despite the election occurring back in late October, Prime Minister Trudeau has waited until Thursday, Dec. 5 to recall the house for a throne speech.

After the throne speech, the house is not scheduled to sit again until Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.

The House of Commons was last in session in late June of this year and, with the exception of the brief throne speech on Dec. 5, it will have sat vacant for over half a year.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Shuffling the deck chairs

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Balance of power affects minority governments

While it is understandable that this is an abnormal time, as a result of the federal election, it is concerning that nearly three months will have passed, since the election, before the House assumes regular sittings.

I raise this because the BC Forest industry, as one example, is in a crisis situation.

Citizens in Kelowna are deeply concerned that 174 residents who worked at the local Tolko lumber mill are now out of work.

This week the B.C. NDP Government announced, in the fiscal update, that revenue received from the B.C. forest sector has decreased by $110 million.

That is government revenue that now must be made up either through reductions in spending or increased taxes elsewhere.

Also this week Canfor announced that 10 lumber mills will be shut down for a two week period, temporarily displacing over 2,000 workers.

These critically important points deserve to be raised on the floor of the House of Commons for response from the Liberal Government.

Not all problems in the forest industry can be solved by government.

The current timber shortage and devastation from the mountain pine beetle are two examples of that.

However we also have to recognize that some BC forest companies. currently closing down lumber mills in B.C. are not leaving forestry.

Instead they are investing in and opening up new lumber mills in the United States.

This is deeply concerning when B.C. forest companies leave B.C. to invest in other regions.

Many of the regions they are investing in have different government policies.

As an example, a lumber mill operating is some of these U.S. jurisdictions does not have higher payroll costs such as increased CPP or the BC NDP created Employer Health Tax.

They also do not pay carbon taxes or are subject to added duties at the border due to a lack of a softwood lumber agreement.

These are some areas where the federal government can show leadership.

Unfortunately with the house not sitting, the ability to raise these issues and hold the government to account is denied.

My question this week: Do you think it is reasonable that the Prime Minister has waited until Dec. 5 to table a throne speech?

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has implemented extended hours at four landfills, beginning March 1, 2020. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen photo)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen extends landfill hours

Summer hours at four facility take effect March 1, 2021.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(Contributed)
March 1 snow measurement at Summerland Reservoir above normal

Isintok Lake snow measurements near historical average

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith of Grand Forks, put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland in early February

A student from Dawson Creek is the winner of Tolko’s Orange Shirt Day design contest for 2021. (Tolko photo)
Tolko contest features northern winner

Student from Dawson Creek beats out entries Canadawide for Orange Shirt Day design contest win

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

The Vernon Public Art Gallery's new Regional Reach program which sends supplies and lessons to classes, has been a hit in the North Okanagan classrooms. (VPAG photo)
Travelling art kit a hit in North Okanagan schools

Art Gallery’s new Regional Reach program delivers art education to the classrooms

A kaleidescope of colours was captured over Lake Country Sunday, Feb. 28. (Wendey Innes-Shaw photo)
Colourful close to month with North Okanagan sunset

From all angles: Vernon and Lake Country photographers capture sunset Feb. 28

City council passed resolution in support of an expansion of the licence area at Salmon Arm’s Marionette Winery for the inclusion of a lounge area. (Marionette Winery/Facebook)
Salmon Arm council supports lounge addition at Shuswap winery

Marionette Winery expanding licence area to host small gatherings

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

Most Read