By Fran Yanor / Legislative Reporter
B.C. Libertarian candidate Sean Robson is running for the provincial Prince George-Valemount riding because he wants to change a few things for the next generation.
“I don’t like where the NDP and the Liberals have led us,” said Robson in an interview on Oct. 2. “I think there’s a new direction needed in order to create a bright future for my son and families in similar situations.”
A 37-year-old logging truck driver who lives in Prince George, Robson has some ideas for the forestry industry, starting with stumpage fees.
“Stumpage fees should be going down,” he said. With lumber in high demand, lower stumpage rates would reduce costs and help foresters meet demand, he said.
He’d also like to see closed mills relocated to communities that can use them. “Move mills in order to get to cheaper wood,” Robson said.
Where some scientists and environmental groups have called for greater forest protections, citing species declines and biodiversity depletion particularly related to clear cut logging, Robson sees some positives.
“Species fluctuate all the time and some of them can, and do, get taken really close to the point of extinction and then they bounce back,” said Robson. “Logging a block also offers a lot of food opportunities that wouldn’t previously have existed.”
He also believes no wood should be wasted.
“The mills that I’m working at and I deliver to are pretty thorough with their use of wood; whatever comes out of the saw mills and the chipper mills, they all end up in fiber plants,” said Robson. “So there’s not a whole lot of waste.”
One of the mills in McBride is using 100 per cent of its wood, he said. “So that’s good.”
Robson is all for more value-added products in the long-term, but doesn’t think the goal of transitioning people out of logging industry is attainable.
The towns and cities in the region rely too heavily on logging and the forest to do without the industry, he said.
“If the Green Party could functionally transition us away from logging and we all had equally paying jobs to previously in the forest industry that would be great,” said Robson. “But I just don’t think that’s realistic in any manner.”
He’d love to see more resource development, like a mine in Prince George region. “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.
Simplified tax system
Robson is also advocating for a 10 per cent across-the-board flat tax for income.
“No loopholes, no adjustments, just 10% of a person’s income,” he said. Everybody pays 10 per cent, regardless of income.
“I think that would just be more incentive to find a better paying job, to find training and advance your career so that you can move up in wages,” Robson said.
In keeping with the B.C. Libertarian Party policy, Robson is not a fan of government.
“The more the government does, the (worse) they do at it,” Robson said.
Take the pandemic, he said. The initial cautious approach taken by government was appropriate, but the current public health measures are not reasonable, Robson said.
“10,000 people (died) in a population of 35 million doesn’t justify what is occurring in Canada,” said Robson. If elected, he would remove all public health orders.
“I’m not against people wearing masks. I’m not against people social distancing. But I would not make it a government regulation, I would not make it an order of any kind,” he said. “It would be up to the person in their own personal discretion.”
Government is also contributing to the opioid crisis, he says.
“That has to do with the massive CERB payments that people aren’t used to getting,” said Robson.
“If your economy is slowing down and it’s not performing as well as it should, you’re going to see people start to turn to drugs, you’re going to see alcoholism, you’re going to see domestic violence, abuse,” he said.
Given the choice, most people want to live a productive life, Robson said. “When the option isn’t there to begin with, they’re going to seek ways to escape all of the hurt, all of the pain, and all of the stress in their lives.”
For some people, that escape will be found in opioids, he said.
“Give them the opportunity to seek a productive life that’s full of opportunity and success,” Robson said. “And they will choose it.”
Fran Yanor / Local Journalism Initiative / Rocky Mountain Goat / [email protected]