The decision to pull potentially damaging changes to the Forest Act off the table is a win for British Columbia, says Opposition Forestry Critic Norm Macdonald.
“I’m pleased that the forest minister heard the calls from environmentalists, forest professionals and the opposition and has removed these sections from Bill 8,”he said in a statement released on Tuesday morning.
“I had a long conversation with the minister about these proposals and raised my concerns. The proposed changes were deeply problematic, and went in exactly the wrong direction. They threatened public control over BC’s land base and risked hard-won environmental standards.”
Bill 8, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, amends a variety of other legislation. The Act would have given the minister the discretionary power to sign new tree farm licence agreements and give corporations strong private property rights over vast areas of publicly owned lands.
“I’m glad to see that the minister listened, not only to what I had to say, but to the concerns of thousands of British Columbians who let the Liberal government know that this was simply unacceptable,” Macdonald said.
“This is a time of tremendous challenge for the forest industry. It is also a time where we could find real opportunities. But we will only maximize these opportunities if we all work together to make the best decisions.”
One of Macdonald’s assistants said the constituency office in Golden received more than 3,000 e-mails opposing Bill 8.