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New BC Forest Minister up to the challenge


June 24, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Pat Bell’s recent appointment as BC’s forest minister is coming at a challenging time. The province’s forestry indu…

Pat Bell’s recent appointment as BC’s forest minister is coming at a challenging time. The province’s forestry industry is in the midst of a severe economic downturn; more than 4,000 jobs have been eliminated in the northern part of the province alone, according to a recent report by the Prince George Citizen.

Yet, Bell remains confident about his new position and ability to contribute to positive change.

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“The foundations have been laid through the various structures we have put in place over the last seven years to really build an industry that may look different,” the Prince George Citizen reported Bell as saying. “But, it’s going to be the heartbeat of the Interior, and I’m looking forward to being part of that.”

The Citizen further reported Bell as saying the province’s forestry sector is in a strong position to capitalize on a market recovery, and that ideas and solutions are anticipated to result from an ongoing forestry roundtable. “We need to bring together the unions, the communities, the industry and the ministry, and get people working productively with each other this is not a time to be fighting with each other,” Bell appealed.

While not everyone agrees with Bell’s approach, Council of Forest Industries president John Allan is confident that Bell’s appointment is a positive turn of events for the sector. “I think he is the right person in the right place for the right job and he’s got a lot of work to do,” the Citizen reported Allan as saying.

Bell’s appointment comes as part of BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s recent cabinet shuffle. He replaces former minister Rich Coleman.


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