....Well the heading tells it
all – but I suppose I’m being a bit dramatic in
such a title. However, friends, it’s a free country
and it’s good for a young chap to get something off
his chest once in a while.
brought me to this emotional pitch over this star wars industry
was a lengthy TV news program the other eve
ning that made its point by stating that the ‘High Tech’
industry in B.C. will rank number one in our province by 1990!
....The announcer went on to
state that several firms were now turning tidy pro-fits with
contracts for various ‘chip products’ in the new
high tech field. Well and good – and bully for them
– particularly in these tough recession times.
....It was also noted by some
rather strange scale of figures that ‘ the high tech
industry has moved into the top five industries in British
Columbia.” Yes, in spite of the heavy blows the forest
industry has taken in the past few years they are still allowing
us first place, but only until 1990! Ah, they know, these
wise TV newsmen. Or do they?
....Do they really know the depth
and extent of this forest industry in B.C., or for that matter
in the whole of Canada? Or do they get tired of hearing the
old cliché that half of every dollar is gen-erated
by the forests of B.C.? I think they do. And I think a great
many medias folks, in their desire to find something new to
write or talk about, simply find the forest industry boring
and therefore search for new grist for their mills.
....I’m annoyed when I
hear the misrep-resentation of this industry in news reports
because like so many other B.C. people, my bread and butter
has come from these trees and I want the record to be straight.
Certainly the unconcerned ( by far the
talented people exist in the industry if they were let loose
to create a program. And the joint financing would pay off
in a press that would respond to newsworthy programs that
the public would want to read about
....Go back to the
beginning where the TV newsman claimed high tech would be
numero uno by 1990. I have not heard of anybody responding
to that statement, possibly because it’s such a pile
of hogwash. But that news pro-gram goes out to thousands of
city dwellers’ homes each evening. And can’t you
just hear the hubby yelling to his wife in the kitchen, “Hey,
Gladys, ya better sell those 10 shares of Con-solidated Spruce,
the forest boys are going under to some new high tech stuff.”
....Sounds foolish, sure. The
whole thing sounds foolish. But, who’s to tell the cement
....When the high tech industry
– or any other industry – builds towns like Prince
George, Alberni, Port McNeill, Quesnel, gold River, Terrace,
Mack-enzie and Houston etc. then they can talk about a new
....These towns are forestry.
The tradespeople in them cater to forestry and if their surrounding
areas were bald headed prairie where trees now grow, they
would owe their living to wheat, sand, or the suntan oil industry.
....When the high tech industry
can utilize office towers and facilities in downtown Vancouver
to the same ex-tent as the forest industry, then they can
hang their number one shingle out to display.
....I would remind you –
and we should remind the media more often – that this
beautiful city houses every major forest firm, various offices
of the International Woodworkers of America and other forest
....Warehouses, booming grounds,
give a hoot who is first or twentieth as long as they get
their three squares a day.
....No, the problem is
not the media people, the problem is thee and me. We don’t
give this industry a newsworthy enough slant. We don’t
paint the picture to the press of “be a friend to a
tree” or “my tree tis of thee.” There’s
got to be more imagination and appeal.
....Now I don’t mean that
you should take out your trusty chain saw and rush into their
editorial offices and news-rooms and proceed to buck up their
furniture for firewood. That will get you headlines, but it
will also put you in the looney bin. You must be more gentle
and all encompassing in your approach.
....I would point out the State
of Oregon as a good example of a concer-ted effort on the
part of many to be known as the Environmental State or the
Clean State. Here, an entire cross section of government,
industry, asso-ciations, groups and just folks banded together
and made their program happen. And they keep it up. We need
that style of appeal to our citizens. It’s not good
enough that there be a push by one forestry group to have
a For-estry Week or from a government office that declares
April 1st as Hemlock Day. The pressure of the public relationship
has got to be well planned and coord-inated with all interested
groups. It must also be executed at a steady pace all year
...We don’t have a coordinated
body in this province now that is capable of lay-ing it on
in this manner, but it would not take too much effort
to get it started.