Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Timber: When an Industry Falls in the Forest who Will Hear It?

Aaaaah, how proud those neoLiberal voters around BC must be, as their beloved party prepares to chop down what's left of the forestry sector and adding in Environment too. Ever been in a town that's lost it's MoF offices and sector jobs? I have and it ain't pretty, lots and lots of empty houses, barren businesses and a desolation that comes from communities that worry... A LOT about their futures. Looks like more pain, economic distress and hardship for more citizens, stellar move on the part of our far-thinking government. It's almost like a contest... how many BC citizens can be plunged into poverty this year by their own government. What is the prize though? I can't get that part.

Forest ministry officials preparing to implement deep cuts
BCGEU. Jul 7 '09.

At a recent labour-management meeting, Ministry of Forestry officials outlined plans to implement a 12 per cent budget cut in 2009/10, including the elimination of 230 full time positions.

At the June 24 meeting, the Ministry told the union they are unsure of exactly what cards they will be dealt by the new Liberal budget, due Sept. 1. But they are preparing to implement a cut of $96 million by March 31, 2010.

The cuts would come from a combination of the 230 job cuts, reduced spending, rejigging functions such as compliance & enforcement to work ‘smarter' and cheaper, and collaborating with other ministries on spending items such as road engineering.

Jobs targeted as environment ministry struggles with budget pressures
BCGEU. Jul 7 '09.

Ministry of Environment officials are working on plans for job cuts of 30 to 40 full time positions for this year.

Among the ministry's important programs and services, Parks and Environmental Stewardship appear to face the most pressure. (Park Rangers, bah, who needs them?).


Concerns About Big Job Losses in the Forests Ministry

Lara Fominoff Email news tips to Lara

Provincial NDP Leader Carole James is critical of possible job cuts coming in B.C.'s Forests and Environment Ministries.

She says at a time the Forest Industry is in crisis, the Government's reponse should not be to cut the budget by 12 per cent, and kill more than 200 jobs."It's going in the wrong direction. And it's one more example where the Government wasn't up front with British Columbians. I certainly didn't hear the Premier when he travelled through Kamloops tell the people of Kamloops that he's going to cut the Ministry of Forests Budget by 12 percent"

James says she fears it's another sign the coming deficit will be far worse than feared.

The B.C Government and Service Employees Union has posted the planned cuts online.

But Forests Minister Pat Bell says, not quite so fast.

He maintains it's premature to say so many people will be losing their jobs.

But he can't rule out job losses either. "Well, across government we're considering all of our options. There's no question we're in very challenging economic times. The public is well aware of the challenges that are being faced, And they're looking to Government to makes sure that we provide the best possible services at the lowest possible cost, so we're working though the process making sure that each and every service that we provide is the right one for the public and that we do our best to protect all of the jobs of the public service."

Bell says everyone will know more about what's going to happen when the Provincial Budget comes out on September First.

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