Proposed act not good policy

In response to Critic In Error With Regard To Changes (The Daily News, Feb. 25). It saddens me to see the continued misrepresentation of the legal process as the B.C. Liberals propose to enable the "rollover" of replaceable forest licences to area-based tenures. It also saddens me that a well-meaning minister continues to allow political staff to conduct a disinformation campaign about this massive change in forest policy.

The proposed law enables companies holding replaceable forest licences to submit proposals to the minister, complete with maps and the company's definition of the public interest. According to the letter of the law, the mapping work and proposal submission can be conducted without any public consultation. Once the minister approves a draft proposal, again without referring it to the public, the company only has to make the proposal "available" for public comment for not less than 60 days.

Making a proposal "available" simply means a proponent can put their proposal on the reception desk of their company's office so it is "available" for anyone to look at and comment on. There is no legal requirement for active and proactive consultation with First Nations or the public during the proposed process.

The reality is that the B.C. Liberals made a public promise to Hampton Affiliates on Sept. 11, 2012, that committed the government to introducing this legislation, so Hampton's replaceable licences can be converted to an area-based tenure in the Burns Lake area.

The proposed legislation is not about good forest management or improving forest policy; it's simply about a political deal the B.C. Liberals made with one U.S.-based company.

A deal made behind closed doors and without public consultation.

BOB SIMPSON

MLA Cariboo North

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