Friday, October 23, 2009

 

Warning: another BC Rail type of deal may be in the works ... and soon

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Critique of Business Council of BC discussion paper on forestry, Part 2
By Peter Ewart

Published in OPINION 250 - Oct. 23, 2009

All of Part 2 is HERE. Excerpt:

... the Wall Street and other tycoons realize that a “90 year lease” amounts to de facto ownership of the forest resource. This means that the timber rights take on dramatically new value and can become pawns in the international financial markets to be bought, sold, and speculated with in all sorts of ways.

It also means that the big forest companies, under the direction of international financiers, will become even more like feudal princes, and that, by becoming the sole “managers” of the forest resource, they will be able to more easily strangle and / or gobble up small and medium sized competitors by using monopolistic tactics, squeeze or eliminate contractors, consolidate and rationalize production, close mills, layoff workers, and skirt environmental regulations.

But there is one other clue in the discussion paper that explains why - using a mishmash of clumsy arguments to build the case - this drastic proposal is being pushed right now. Almost with a wink of the eye and a nudge, the document states, “it could be argued that today is as close as it may be possible to come to the ideal timing …. to introduce proposals for major policy changes of this nature” (p.90).

In other words, when tens of thousands of forest workers are laid off, mills are closed, communities are reeling or devastated, and when many people in the province are facing an uncertain future and are at their most vulnerable, what better time to concoct and push forward a proposal that is so objectionable that, during any other period, it would be soundly rejected by the population?

What better time, indeed.

In Part 3 of this series of articles, we will be discussing how similar techniques to those used in the privatization of BC Rail are being dusted off to sell the discussion paper’s idea for “90 year” forestry leases.


Peter Ewart is a writer and columnist based in Prince George, BC. He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca
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Part 1 is HERE. The Oct. 24 editorial opinion of Ben Meisner (Lumber giants don't like CN anymore) is HERE.


Watch OPINION 250, or this web-site, for Part 3. A sincere tip o'the tuque to Peter Ewart and friends of BC Rail in Prince George.

- BC Mary.

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Comments:
I have a dream, or maybe it's a fantasy. The publishers of Opinion250 buy the remains of the Sun and Province, scrape one (the Province) and operate the Sun as a subsidiary of Opinion250, written perhaps at a lower level of reading ability than the PG version of Op250 so as not to strain the Lower Vainlanders, reading comprehension abilities.

Once the new Sun was up and running they could then do the same with the Times-Colonist and then Victoria and the Lower Vainland would actually have real newspapers as apparently only smaller communities in BC do today - like Salt Spring Island, Prince George, Terrace, Port Alberni, New Denver and others.

It might take awhile for the inhabitants of the Big Smoke and the Captital of Crime to get used to having a real newspaper, but I'm confident they would come to like it once they got used to it!

When they eliminate the Province they could take the Province Sports Section and append it to the new Sun. Hell, maybe they could even get Vaughn Palmer to write about music and entertainment and hire Gary Mason back from the center of the universe and put him back on sports and hire some genuine journalists to handle the important stuff like crime and politics (pretty much the same thing in BC and Ottawa)!

Who knows - under the new Opinion250 media empire we might even hear about the conviction of the next Mr. Big in the West Coast Drug Biz with ties to the government by the next day at the latest and perhaps they will only cover the trials of cereal killers on days when the court isn't in recess.

There is something wrong with a so-called newspaper that has a DAILY section dealing with a grizzly spectacle trial during a month or more of recess, but never, or very rarely, mentions trials like Mr. J. Bains or Basi-Virk even when there are hearings everyday or verdicts and sentences are handed down. And the Asspersons and their corporate waste of space wonders why they are going bankrupt!
 
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