Doug Donaldson was in Port Alberni yesterday – his first visit as Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
He met with representatives from Western Forest Products, the San Group, and Catalyst Paper, where he promised provincial support against the tarrifs and duties recently introduced by the American government.
Donaldson said the provinces paper producers are under attack from special interest groups in the U.S., and he’s in regular communication with the federal minister in charge of negotiations to relay coastal concerns.
In an exclusive interview with 93.3 The PEAK, he said he’s met with Island Timberlands about local concerns around locked gates, and told the company such practices have to stop.
Donaldson said the forest companies agreed to maintain public access as a condition of the Crown land being transferred into private ownership, and says his office will make sure those agreements are honoured.
He says the NDP has been in power only 8 months after 16 years of Liberal reign, and it will take some time to wrestle control away from the companies and restore community voices into forest policies and decision-making processes.