Independent Loggers Call for Timber Allocation

Friday, August 15, 2003 at 13:58




The president of a group that represents independent loggers in the North accuses the provincial government of giving large forestry companies too much power.


Tom Sanderson of La Ronge says the NDP likes to talk about how it’s including northern Aboriginal groups in forestry, but says the government hasn’t done any favours for small private contractors in the North.


He says large forestry companies are under no obligation to award harvesting contracts to these independent loggers, and as a result, many of them have gone bankrupt or have been forced out of business in recent years.


Sanderson says the private contractors used to be able to at least work the burned-out areas, but now, he says they can’t even get those contracts.


Northern Affairs Minister Buckley Belanger says he hears Sanderson’s concerns and admits it might be time to have a meeting with forestry companies on this issue. However, Belanger says the government can’t force the forestry companies to hire the small northern contractors.


Sanderson is suggesting the province award a timber allocation directly to the small contractors. But, Belanger says that won’t happen, because the government believes forestry rights should belong to northern communities, not contractors.