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Dead Red Pine trees near Williams Lake, B.C., in 2007. B.C. government projections show that after the timber killed by pine beetles has been logged off, a major shortage of harvestable trees will occur, starting within two years and lasting for as long as 50 years. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Dead Red Pine trees near Williams Lake, B.C., in 2007. B.C. government projections show that after the timber killed by pine beetles has been logged off, a major shortage of harvestable trees will occur, starting within two years and lasting for as long as 50 years. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

Regional Report

Are we in store for a war in the woods? Add to ...

Brace for another war in the woods over how many trees should be cut down, says the Prince George Free Press. Government’s inaction on the issue over the past decade is likely to ignite another war, the newspaper says in an editorial. Cut levels have been elevated throughout the interior of B.C. in order to salvage as much wood as possible before trees were destroyed by the mountain pine beetle. Local politicians are now scrambling to try to keep cut levels elevated once the beetle-infested wood is gone. On the block are old growth forests and anything else that can be cut to help keep cut levels elevated, the newspaper says. “Everyone knew that at some point, the cut levels would have to come back down,” the newspaper says. The question is what has been done to prepare for the reduction in cut levels. ? Not much, it seems, the paper says. “We’ve known for a decade that this was going to happen, dialogue should have begun long before now.”

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The by-elections in the B.C. constituencies of Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope are over but debate over their significance has just begun. The NDP will win the next provincial election in May, 2013, says a headline on an editorial in The Langley TimesThe NDP won Port Moody-Coquitlam by a sizeable margin and took Chilliwack-Hope, a seat they have never held. The split in the right-wing vote between the Liberals and Conservatives ensure the NDP will win a majority government in 2013. “In three-way fights, [the Liberals] will lose a lot of seats they now hold — and Langley may well be one of them,” the newspaper says.

However the Tri-City News, which covers Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam, says the by-election result in Port Moody-Coquitlam is not a bellwether. “To all the pundits, the armchair politicians and the big-city reporters who touched down in this suburban riding for a day or let their fingers do the walking on Google, we say hogwash,” the newspaper says in an editorial just before the vote. “This election is child’s play compared to the three-way battle coming in 2013. It would seem this current race isn’t so much a barometer of things to come but an inquiring finger raised to the winds of political change.”

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Meanwhile in federal politics,

The federal government should invest more in training programs, instead of “waging class warfare on the nation’s unemployed,” says an editorial in the Penticton Western News

Proposed reforms would require unemployed Canadians receiving EI to accept local jobs currently being filled by temporary foreign workers. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been quoted as saying that those who do not take available work would not receive EI. “Grab a bucket and head to the berry patch. That would appear to be the message the Harper government has for Canadian workers displaced by a global economy still recovering from the worst recession in more than a generation,” the newspaper says. “The minister’s solution would create a new underclass of the Canadian workforce while doing nothing to address the challenges the country faces in the years ahead. If manual labour in the fields is the federal government’s solution to the unemployment situation, one must question the whole rationale for an Employment Insurance program.”

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In a scathing editorial on the Conservative government’s record on the environment, the Prince George Citizen says the local Conservative MP Dick Harris, who represents Cariboo-Prince George, should not be upset when environmentalists say the Conservatives do not care about the environment. “One could understand Harris`s tender feelings if the Harper government could at least muster the feeble lip service its Liberal predecessors paid to green issues,” says the editorial by associate news editor Rodney Venis. “But perhaps the only way Canada`s Tories could show more contempt for matters of flora and fauna would be if its caucus appeared in Parliament with the heads of baby seals speared on hakapiks in one hand and Wiebo Ludwig voodoo dolls burning with bitumen in the other.” Mr. Harris was upset about remarks made following the announcement of streamlining the process for the Enbridge and the Northern Gateway pipeline projects, the paper says. “It may be good policy and it may not, but to drastically curtail the process on one side of the mouth while claiming to be any sort of green champion on the other is a Nixonesque feat even for a Tory. So spare us the histrionics, Mr. Harris. The reality is the Conservative government could not care less when it comes to the environment,” Mr. Venis writes.

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