Letter: Wood fibre competition

Editor:

Is competition bad for the taxpayers of the Boundary?

It certainly sounds like it if you believe the whining from Interfor.

It is a bit of a puzzle to understand why a free enterprise company is so concerned about any form of competition for wood fibre, or is it really the fear of losing their monopoly of the fibre supply? I was under the impression that “free enterprise” meant something different than a “monopoly.” Is this not the very reason that we have an “American softwood lumber tariff?” This lack of competition is exactly what the American lumber producers are concerned about and they have successfully been able to apply costly lumber tariffs and penalties. Historically the lack of a “fair log market” has cost Canada billions of dollars in lumber tariffs and penalties.

In my opinion, competition for any raw product leads companies to innovate and maximize utilization of the raw product, simply because there is no longer an over supply. This is exactly what our area needs. It is interesting that during the recent economic downturn, the big lumber producers shut down numerous times yet the smaller mills throughout the Kootenays, and indeed throughout the province, continued to operate. Is it possible that small companies are more willing to honour the social contract that goes with having access to timber and are more able to respond to changing markets?

George Delisle, Westbridge