Scribbles from the virtual 2021 COFI Convention

  1. Convention buzzwords: challenges, volatility, change, value-added, relationships, Indigenous, partnerships, diversity, climate, carbon, communities, everyone, recovery, collaboration, mass timber, pandemic, resilient, lumpy.
  2. “Transitioning to high value over high volume production will be a key element of a revitalized B.C. forest industry. The shift to value-added will help people by creating sustainable forestry jobs across B.C. We need to get more from less. Our government wants to make sure fibre is getting to manufacturers who can add more value and create more jobs as a result.”
    Hon. Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
  3. “I want my grandchildren to be able to find family-supporting work in the forest sector if that’s what they choose. But I also want them to be able to go for a hike to see old growth in the forest, not in a history book.”
    Hon. Katrine Conroy
  4. “This tension between President Biden’s goals of achieving a strong rebound for Americans, the American middle class, American workers, American jobs – and the price of lumber and the supply of lumber – is coming to a head.”
    Kirsten Hillman, Ambassador of Canada to the United States
  5. “I think that we will find that the pressure will mount for the American side to want to return to the negotiating table. To be clear however, neither the administration nor the lumber coalition have signaled an interest in doing so yet.”
    Kirsten Hillman
  6. “The Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Nov. 2019 speaks to our sovereignty, our ability to self-determination, and speaks to recognition that Indigenous rights are human rights. The declaration doesn’t give First Nations more rights nor does it recognize that United Nations give us more rights, rather it recognizes what already exists.”
    Terry Teegee, BC Regional Chief
  7. “We can have a whole conference on this issue of free, prior, and informed consent. But what I need to really make clear is no government has a veto. There is this fearmongering that this act gives First Nations a veto which isn’t the case. Rather it creates that space where all governments can make a decision.”
    Terry Teegee
  8. “Things have changed, there’s been a real reckoning here over the last year with this pandemic. Industry must change.”
    Terry Teegee
  9. “The old way of doing business in our territory wasn’t working. I can recall back in 1992 we only had two workers in the forest industry and today I’m proud to say we probably have up to about 20 people that are benefiting from forest activity in our territory. I’m very happy that we found two organizations that were willing to work with us to create the change necessary..”
    Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations
  10. “‘Everything is One’ – an integrated resource management plan.”
    Robert J. Dennis Sr.
  11. “To reach this point you need a few things.. but first and foremost, you need to have a relationship based on respect and trust. Most importantly, we were all willing to listen.”
    Don Demens, President & CEO, Western Forest Products
  12. “Where business can participate in reconciliation is on the moving forward part. We can participate by creating our own relationships.. long-lasting partnerships rather than short term transactional agreements.”
    Don Demens
  13. “Success to me is really following through on what we collectively set out to achieve and building that relationship.”
    Brian Butler, President, United Steelworkers 1-1937
  14. “What does reconciliation mean to you?”
    Moderator Shannon Janzen, Vice President & Chief Forester, Western Forest Products
  15. “Even when demand and prices rebounded it was always against the backdrop and an overhang of a devastating pandemic impacting many lives. Not everything was equal, it’s been very lumpy. It was really a 6 or 7 year cycle all condensed into one year.”
    Ray Ferris, President & CEO, West Fraser
  16. “We need to keep in context that the BC industry took more downtime than any other region in North America. When demand stopped for a period of time, half the curtailments in the industry in North America came from BC – simply devastating to our employees and the communities that we operate in. We learned again as we did in 2019 that BC is not as well-positioned as we need to be.”
    Ray Ferris
  17. “A year ago we had reduced our production significantly to try to deal with what we may be facing. We were preparing for the worst. We were running at about 30% of production in BC, 50% in the US South, and about 80% at our mills in Sweden.”
    Don Kayne, President & CEO, Canfor Corporation
  18. “I don’t mind telling you I’m tired of hearing the word unprecedented.”
    Ray Ferris
  19. “One thing for certain about trying to project prices is you’re going to be wrong.”
    Don Kayne
  20. “Wood is one of nature’s perfect materials. It’s renewable, it grows with the power of the sun, and it captures carbon as it grows. And then we convert these trees into useful long-lived products like lumber. And then we replant and the cycle starts again. BC is in an extraordinary position as the demand for wood continues to grow as a solution for climate change.”
    Jeff Zweig, President & CEO, Mosaic Forest Management
  21. “Most of the large iconic trees in BC, not all of them but most of them in unique ecosystems, are already conserved in parks. That’s a result of 30 years of old growth strategy refinement and special designations on top of that including the Great Bear Rainforest. I think everyone shares the objective to achieve long term ecosystem health. There aren’t many jurisdictions around the world that have as much parkland as BC or are as tightly regulated.”
    Jeff Zweig
  22. “Before we make changes to the way in which we manage old growth forest in BC, we need to understand what the socioeconomic impacts will be. Undoubtedly, undoubtedly we can do better. But let’s just be very considerate about how we do it, particularly during a pandemic.”
    Jeff Zweig
  23. “I have heard repeatedly if we want to build a value-added marketplace we need to make sure to cultivate that right here at home. An essential part of our approach to the industry is to make sure we do focus on that value-added marketplace and we stop chasing every stick to get it out as quickly as we can.”
    Hon. John Horgan Premier of British Columbia
  24. “Two years ago I wrote to CEO’s in the industry outlining our vision for the industry. I wrote that letter because the growing shortage of fibre following the one-two punches of successive wildfire seasons and the end of the beetle kill made it imperative we do something about the declining fibre basket and too many people chasing too few trees. And I encouraged CEO’s to work with leaders from labour, from communities and from Indigenous Nations to find a way forward to show leadership on the land base with all of the partners. And I acknowledge there were many challenges to that initiative and I was more hopeful than perhaps I should have been. Of course there have been some B2B tenure sales and arrangements with Indigenous Nations have happened, but you’ll all be aware of course that there’s progress yet to happen and I’m disappointed about that.”
    Hon. John Horgan
  25. “So to bring about the change, government will have to step in I believe to make the appropriate incentives to get the job done. And just an aside to our American friends, incentives do not mean subsidies, incentives mean we’re making the transition as a community to make sure we take full advantage of the bounty that belongs to all of us.”
    Hon. John Horgan
  26. “Those who do have tenure and do not want to share it, well we’ll have to step in and ensure there’s fair compensation as we move to a more equitable distribution of access to forest products so that we can continue to have the diversity that we all want to see.”
    Hon. John Horgan

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