*Harry Lali’s comments are in response to the Liberal’s five-point plant released earlier this week. Full details on the plan are available here.
Harry Lali was previously the NDP MLA for Fraser-Nicola from 2009-2013. Lali ran in both 2013 and 2017 losing to current Liberal MLA Jackie Tegart. He also held office from 1991-2001 and 2005-2009 as an MLA in the riding of Yale-Lillooet.
Earlier this week the BC Liberal Rural Caucus released a five-point plan to help displaced and unemployed forestry workers in BC. The Liberals sent the plan to Premier John Horgan demanding immediate action.
Former MLA Lali sat down with Q101 News to discuss the ongoing issues facing the industry from the NDP point of view.
“We’re are at a crossroads here in terms of future of the forest industry,” began Lali. “Government can take the lead, not just the BC Government but in conjunction with the Federal Government, to try to put in a process where you bring all players together, where you figure out how everybody will work together for the future viability of forestry in this province.”
Lali called the combination of the pine beetles, forest fires, stumpage rates, and weakening lumber markets a ‘perfect storm’.
“For their efforts, the NDP is providing assistance for laid-off forestry workers and affected communities. Now, could more be done to help communities to diversify into value-added manufacturing and looking for markets? The answer is yes,” said Lali.
“Could more be done to have an honest and detailed discussion about the future of the forest industry, or a forestry summit, or round table type of discussion including industry, workers, community leadership, first nations, affected businesses, and government officials to prevent additional mill closures and more importantly to chart out a forest policy for the protection, the enhancement and the long-term viability and sustainability of BC forest industry? The answer is yes. Those things can happen but there has to be a buy-in by all vested interests.”
The NDP is expecting to be in the Merritt area in early August to discuss the ongoing forestry issues.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt