By Nicole Trigg
The Canal Flats mill layoffs are symptomatic of a bigger problem one thats being touched upon by recent letters to the editor.
Last week, it was Bryan Stawchyny sharing his views that privately owned banks (read: the individuals who own the banks) control global economics, while this week its Walter Benstead dismissing the conspiracy theory and instead putting foward his opinion that the worlds financial problems boil down to simple mismanagement. Whichever side of the debate youre on, what both sides have in common is theyre trying to decipher whats wrong with the current paradigm in which were all living and, at times, are vicitim to. Like the almost 100 Canal Flats mill employees who are soon going to find themselves without a job because the source of their livelihood is disappearing. Acccording to Canfor, the timber supply has dwindled to the point where it can no longer supply a fully functioning Canal Flats mill.
Canfor purchased the mill from Tembec in 2012 and, according to mill employee Daniel Bybee, has made $19 million profit in three years. Undoubtedly, being the forestry giant that it is, Canfor has met every forest practices code and played within the rules set out by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. But talk to any forester and theyll tell you there are as many loopholes as there are rules when it comes to clearcutting in B.C. If Canfor has run out of timber supply for a recently acquired mill thats been in operation for almost a century, it begs to question if the logging rate has been a sustainable one not only for the environment, but also for the community that has built up around it.
With all the high profit wood logged, what remains is hard to access, which invites higher costs, hence less profit shareholders wont be happy. According to the time value of money idea, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received. Had Canfor shown a willingness to wait and logged less, then things would be different, but the cost to shareholders has a higher value than the cost to future generations. By overvaluing short-term profit, not only have we lost a huge amount of trees (climb to any peak to get a look at the number of cutblocks peppering the mountainsides), but a community is bearing the brunt.