Commons BC challenges BC Government's Bill 8 to privatize all remaining public forestlands

Commons BC is calling on BC Government to remove Section 24 from Bill 8, a virtual privatization of all remaining public forestlands. "The proposed rollover of Timber Supply Areas into Tree Farm Licences would be irreversible corporate giveaway," said the press release from Commons BC this afternoon.

Here's what the release said:

In their final days of power, British Columbia’s imploding Liberal Party are attempting to pass legislation that could "virtually privatize" up to 25 million hectares of British Columbia’s forests.

Section 24 of Bill 8 will bring about the single largest reclassification of forestlands to “TFL” (Tree Farm License) in the history of British Columbia.

Bill 8 will do for BC forests what Stephen Harper’s last omnibus bill did for Canada’s protected water ways: it will facilitate the ease with which corporations can side step public discourse and unilaterally make decisions that will permanently effect our forests, our communities and the environment.

“Bill 8 opens the gates to the privatization of BC's public forestlands to the severe detriment of the public interest,” says Vicky Husband who has been awarded both the Order of BC and the Order of Canada for her conservation work protecting BC’s forests, lands and biodiversity.

“The Social Credit government attempted a similar transfer in 1988,” says Bob Simpson, Independent MLA for Cariboo North, “but the public vociferously rejected the law and it was repealed a year later. Now in it's 11th hour the BC Liberal government is trying to add their own chapter to the long and sordid history of the privatization of BC's public forests.”

“Another troubling aspect to Bill 8 is the fiscal irresponsibility of ‘virtually privatizing’ large swathes of BC land to a handful of local and foreign owned corporations,” says Anthony Britneff RPF (ret) who had a distinguished 40-year career with the BC Forest Service. “If it turns out that we ever need access to those lands again we will be forced to pay out huge compensation packages to the corporations that control the rights.”

Bill 8 is scheduled for a second reading this week and we need you to take immediate action to join the fight to protect BC’s forests.

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