Premier launches forest policy review for Interior

The provincial government is launching a “regionally-driven” process to renew the Interior’s forest industry, Premier John Horgan said Friday.

Speaking at the Council of Forest Industries convention in Vancouver, Horgan said he has invited forest company executives to join labour, First Nations and communities to participate in local coalitions to develop “positive and forward-looking visions” for their respective timber supply areas.

“This will be a local process, led by those who are committed to the future of forestry in their regions, and who are willing to do the tough work to create a shared vision of a prosperous, competitive industry,” Horgan said in a news release.

The government will also bring forward updates to the Forests and Ranger Practices Act this spring meant, in part, to put a greater emphasis on higher-value products.

The initiative comes after a similar process for the Coastal forest sector was completed in January following six months of consultation with various stakeholders.

Opposition Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations Critic John Rustad accused the government of abdicating its responsibility to lead the way.

“John Horgan has announced that they have basically said ‘the government is not going to provide leadership on this, we’re putting it out to the companies and it’s on you guys to try to figure out how to deal with it,” Rustad said from Vancouver.

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