PIne beetle jobs disaster and government inaction (and secrecy)

Independent MLA Bob Simpson yesterday raised questions about a government document forecasting half the forest jobs in the Interior would disappear in the next few years. The rush to harvest the pine beetle wood will be over. The damaged forests will be decades away from harvest size. No wood, no mills, no jobs. The document proposes a few short-term measures, like logging in protected areas. (The government was quickly removed from the government website once Simpson asked about it in the legislature.)
The economic crisis reflects a massive government failure to respond to an inevitable and obvious crisis. In a 2004 column, I wrote about the job losses when the pine beetle wood was harvested.
The crisis would challenge any government. There are no easy routes to economic diversification to replace a core industry, or retraining for its workers.
But the federal government's response has been anemic, given the scale of the disaster. The province's Pine Beetle Action Plan has been hopelessly inadequate, especially in terms of economic development. The provincial government has failed to warn workers that their jobs will end, and missed opportunities to take bold action.
All despite the fact that this disaster has been unfolding in slow motion, in plan sight.

Update: Simpson has the document, now declared secret by the government, at his website here.

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