Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia

By Patricia Marchak | Go to book overview

13
Policies for Change

In June, 1978, the British Columbia government passed a new Forest Act, which continued and strengthened a longstanding policy to grant forestry tenures largely to a very few integrated forestry products companies. Legislators believed that these companies would be reliable and stable employers because they could withstand market variability better than smaller companies; that they would be responsible harvesters of the resource because they have long-term planning horizons; and that they would provide higher resource rents and tax returns to the provincial coffers because they could operate on economies of scale.

In January, 1980, the same government announced emergency measures to provide funds for reforestation programmes. Apparently the long-term horizons of the companies had not led to the responsible harvesting of the resource. By January, 1981, the United States markets for lumber were diminishing because of high interest rates and consequent reduced construction in that country and in Canada. Within the following months, markets for pulp and newsprint also fell off, and by June the industry in B.C. was in a state of crisis. As had occurred in 1975 when the “energy crisis” had its impact on the B.C. forestry industry, the recession coincided with labour negotiations and these suddenly erupted in a prolonged strike during the late summer of 1981. When the strike was concluded, workers returned to jobs only to be laid off.

By the spring of 1982, with no end in sight to the recession, upwards of 30 per cent of loggers and sawmill workers in B.C. were out of work, and the major pulpmills were closing down for unspecified periods. The same recession, by March tentatively called a depression, hit pulp companies in the United States as well. There, a senior executive of Boise Cascade predicted

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Green Gold: The Forest Industry in British Columbia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Part One- Capital xxi
  • 1- A Staples Economy 1
  • 2- History of a Resource Industry 29
  • 3- "Partners with Industry" 55
  • 4- The Structure of the Industry 82
  • Part Two- Labour 113
  • 5- Class and Human Capital 115
  • 6- Markets, Technology, and Employment 156
  • 7- Patterns of Employment and Unemployment 181
  • 8- Employment Conditions for Women in Resource Towns 213
  • 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 249
  • 10- Job Control and Ideology 269
  • Part Three- Communities 301
  • 11- The Instant Town 303
  • 12- At the End of the Forest 323
  • 13- Policies for Change 348
  • Appendix A- Methodology and Samples 381
  • Appendix B- Tables Accompanying Chapter 9- Job Control, Security, and Satisfaction 389
  • Appendix C- Tables Accompanying Chapter 10- Ideology 399
  • Bibliography 416
  • Index 437
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