Protection of old growth forests

A. Olsen: Thank you to the minister for the response. Working around the edges is not enough on this. Forestry in B.C. is broken, and it needs fundamental reform. Over the past number of decades, we've seen the loss of tens of thousands of forestry jobs as well as the continued liquidation of some of our most pristine highly productive old forests. Yet this government is delaying bringing in the basic, preliminary reforms to legislation to start us down a better path.


We've spent this past week asking the government what steps it's taking to reform the industry, protect old growth and support workers in communities to transition. While the minister has acknowledged some of the problems before us, nothing has changed on the ground, and we don't see a plan for the future. In fact, a friend recently recounted to me that he personally witnessed recently old growth being "hammered on our coast." The longer that this government delays on changing course, the worse the outcomes in our forests and forestry-dependent communities are.


Once again, my question is to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development. We've heard lots of words in the last couple of days. I'm looking for just one. Will his government pause logging in old-growth ecosystems at the worse the outcomes in our forests and forestry-dependent communities are.


Once again, my question is to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development. We've heard lots of words in the last couple of days. I'm looking for just one. Will his government pause logging in old-growth ecosystems at the highest risk until a plan is in place, yes or no?


Hon. D. Donaldson: Once again, I am happy to answer questions around the management of the forest resource in the province. Our government is absolutely committed to implementing a new sustainable and comprehensive old-growth management strategy. That's why we commissioned the old growth strategic review. The panel toured the province and provided a very comprehensive report.


As I said in my response to the member's question on this topic on Monday, we've committed to publicly release that report within six months of receiving it. We received it at the beginning of May. We're on track to meet that commitment.


As for any actions that will arise as a result of the report, it's important to remember that the terms of reference clearly outline that we will engage in a government-to-government consultation with First Nations before setting policy direction in response to the report. That's in the spirit of respect. Acting unilaterally without first conducting the government-to-government discussions would not be respectful.

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