Federal election candidates Mel Arnold, Cindy Derkaz, Kyle Delfing, Marc Reinarz and Harwinder Sandhu voice their views for the approximately 75 people who came to the Sicamous Seniors Centre on Thursday, Oct. 3 to hear the candidates speak. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Federal candidates in North Okanagan-Shuswap voice views on forestry fixes

Sicamous residents gather to hear topics from pipelines to species at risk

At a time when shutdowns and layoffs are realities in the forest industry, it was no surprise that a question about forestry was asked at the North Okanagan-Shuswap all-candidates’ forum held at the Sicamous Senors Centre Thursday.

The question asked Oct. 3 was what each party would do to address the downturn and job losses.

Kyle Delfing, People’s Party of Canada candidate, said renegotiating trade deals is the short answer.

He said the Harper government in 2011 had an opportunity to negotiate the Softwood Lumber Agreement before it expired but didn’t. Under the Liberals, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland was sent, but “Donald Trump actually asked Trudeau to send a better negotiator down there because she wasn’t negotiating with our best interests.”

He said while the federal government can participate in trade negotiations, it also needs to work with the province to revamp stumpage fees.

Read more: B.C. premier says it’s time to add value to province’s forestry

Read more: ‘We’re all getting hit hard’: B.C. truck convoy to protest forestry job losses

Marc Reinarz, Green Party of Canada candidate, said wood should be processed locally. By keeping logs here, jobs are maintained and buying back lumber isn’t necessary. He noted that in the past, over-supplies of wood were dumped in the U.S., depleting reserves. Now that there’s a shortage of logs, he said it’s time to log wisely, while taking care of watersheds.

Harwinder Sandhu, NDP candidate, spoke about raw logs, stating that under the previous provincial government over the last decade, raw log exports were increased by 500 per cent.

“That has a lot to do with the problem we’re in today and it went unaddressed.”

Sandhu said the NDP would invest in forestry innovation, research and development, and support value-added products and the good jobs that go with them. It would also expand markets, diminishing reliance on the U.S.

Mel Arnold, Conservative candidate, said he heard from leaders in the industry that there was difficulty moving the product when the wood value was good. They couldn’t get rail cars because they were tied up shipping oil. He said the U.S. started looking elsewhere.

Arnold said the Liberal government had a year to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement but failed. He said Canada needs to work on its international trade agreements as well as retraining to get people back to work.

Read more: Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Read more: Interior forestry workers ratify five-year contract

Cindy Derkaz, Liberal Party candidate, said the federal government has injected $867 million into supporting workers and expanding and diversifying markets.

She pointed out the Conservatives didn’t get the Softwood Lumber Agreement worked out either, so it ended up with the Liberal government, and the U.S. government also changed. She said she is happy that people the quality of Chrystia Freeland are negotiating for Canada, putting “trade agreements in place with every other G7 country.”

Derkaz said there is a big role for the federal government and the local MP to help communities get funding support.

Other submitted questions the candidates tackled for the crowd of about 75 present included support for small business, construction of pipelines, highway construction, thoughts on SNC Lavalin and protecting species at risk.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Boil water notice lifted for residents in North Shuswap

Notice put in place after damage found at Scotch Creek water system

Salmon Arm councillors tackle proposed 4.6 per cent tax hike

City budget deliberations underway at council chambers

Salmon Arm airport: Appreciation Day plans underway, borrowing flies for new runway

City to go ahead with borrowing more than $800,000 to construct Taxiway Charlie

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

Children’s discovery centre, new restaurant planned for RJ Haney Heritage Villlage

Board asks Salmon Arm council for a $25,000 contribution, will be decided at budget time

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Former Mount Boucherie teacher Bradley Furman will be sentenced on Dec. 16

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Hergott: Driving and talking to a passenger

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about distracted driving with passengers

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Summerland man celebrates 100th birthday

Bill Kenzle credits positive attitude as secret to a long life

Most Read