Monday, October 25, 2010

Trying to understand the new cabinet roles in BC

I have been looking at the division of responsibilities of the ministers for the last couple of hours and I had to admit I do not get it.The new Minister of Forest, Mines and Lands seems to be responsible for lots of policy but not much on the ground.

General Responsibilities


  • Forest stewardship policy 


  • Timber supply, inventory and tree improvement - this is research and analysis on what can be cut and where and how to get higher quality timber faster.


  • Pest and disease management policy


  • Forest investment - I assume this means government silviculture like pruning and spacing?


  • BC Timber Sales - really a quasi Crown Corporation that provides small scale tenures to the highest bidder


  • Tenures and pricing 


  • Resource roads and bridges policy - how the companies should look after them, hard to see this keeping more than a couple of people busy


  • Crown land administration policy - once again, very few people needed for this.


  • Mines and minerals policy - ditto as right above it.


  • Geological Survey Service



  • Knowing what a Forest District office does, I can see very little of that work which remains in this ministry.  Are all the forest district offices going to become Natural Resource Operations offices?

    So what happens to the BC Forest Service?   The Forest Service is a bit of a different set of people within the government.   They have a long history, more than 100 years, of being the stewards of the forests.  What happens to this history if there is no functional on the ground ministry of forests?  From what I can see, the Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands will mainly be a Victoria shop.

    So where is land use planning?  Seemingly in the Ministry of Regional Economic Development and Skills Development

    Some of the areas this ministry deals with that are really more dirt ministry:

    • Land use planning
    • Regional economic and rural development
    • Economic development policy
    • Mountain pine beetle
    • Columbia Basin Trust
    • Rural BC Secretariat


    This ministry deals with all post secondary education expect for universities.

    Meanwhile aquaculture is no longer with the Minister of Agriculture but with the Minister of Natural Resource Operations.

    The more I read through who does what, the more I am wondering what is the government thinking, it does not make sense to me.   The radical change that is going to have to occur in who makes what decisions in relation to lands in BC is going to lead to months of stalling as civil servants are not going to know who they are answering to and what their scope of authority is.   You are also going have people from different ministry cultures being put into one pot, this will cause problems and will take time to sort out.

    I honestly can not figure out what the thinking is behind this change, I really, really have no idea at all and can make sense of it, I will leave with one last question, we have a Chief Forester in BC, Jim Snetsinger, what ministry is he in today?
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