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Openings in the forest economy : a case study of small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley, BC, Canada Bronson, Elizabeth Anne 2000

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OPENINGS IN THE FOREST ECONOMY: A CASE STUDY OF SMALL FOREST OPERATORS IN THE BULKLEY VALLEY, BC, CANADA by ELIZABETH ANNE BRONSON B.A., Carleton University, 1985 M.A., University of Toronto, 1991 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY In THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Geography) We accept this thesis as conforming4p the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1999 © Elizabeth Branson, 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Department DE-6 (2/88) AB S T R A C T The thesis is an exploration of the current role of the small business forest sector in hinterland forest communities, and the extent to which their economic and social positions correspond to the role envisioned for them by two prevailing visions of the future of the forest industry. One, advocated by Canadian political economists, predicts a continuation, indeed an intensification of corporate concentration, with attendant downsizing and job losses. Corporate restructuring is seen in part to induce small business development, through sub-contracting arrangements and local entrepreneurialism, as a response to losses of core forest industry jobs. The second interpretation, advocated by the alternative forestry school, views the current crisis in the forest industry as an opportunity to return to decentralised approaches to ecologically-based forest management which encourage 'democracy in the forests', leading to community and environmental sustainability. Local entrepreneurs are an important part of this new 'value-based' forest economy. Interviews with small forest operators reveal a diversity of economic and social identities that do not conform well to either of the positions ascribed to small business by the Canadian political economy or alternative forestry literatures. The representations of small business found in these two literatures homogenize and suppress this diversity, making it difficult to 'see' small forest operators as anything other than contractors to the conventional system of corporate forestry, or alternative operators in an ecosystem- and community-based forest economy. In the place of these singular, marginalizing representations, I argue, using poststructural and feminist approaches to economic geography, for a 'third way' of exploring small forest operator subjectivities through overdetermined multiple class processes. Exploring small forest operator identity through multiple class processes avoids the essentialism found in fixed representations. It recognizes the transformative potential of small business in the forest economy, without denying the potential for exploitation that exists both within small business and corporate forestry. Class processes rendered invisible in the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry narratives, such as unpaid labour performed by family members and volunteer work in local planning processes, as well as work performed for wages and profit, are considered in this multiple class processes approach. ii T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Tables v i List of Figures : viii Acknowledgements ix 1 INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 A T U R N I N G P O I N T IN T H E B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A F O R E S T I N D U S T R Y 6 1 .2 Two P E R S P E C T I V E S O N S M A L L B U S I N E S S IN T H E ' N E W ' E R A O F T H E F O R E S T I N D U S T R Y 8 1.2.1 Small Business in the Post-Fordist Forest Industry (The Canadian Political Economy Tradition) 10 1.2.2 The Value-based Forest Economy (Alternative Forestry) 12 1 . 3 D I S C O U R S E , R E P R E S E N T A T I O N , A N D T H E F O R E S T I N D U S T R Y 1 4 1 . 4 O U T L I N E O F T H E D I S S E R T A T I O N 1 6 2 R E S E A R C H A P P R O A C H 21 2 . 1 E X P L O R I N G D I S C O U R S E S 2 1 2 . 2 T H E C A S E S T U D Y A P P R O A C H 2 4 2.2 .1 The Bulkley Valley as a Case Study Area 26 2.2.2 Case Study Selection Criteria 2 9 2 . 3 F R A M E W O R K F O R D A T A C O L L E C T I O N A N D A N A L Y S I S 3 9 2 . 4 F I E L D W O R K M E T H O D S 4 1 2 . 5 D A T A A N A L Y S I S 4 6 3 REWORKING BRITISH COLUMBIA'S FOREST ECONOMIES 48 3 . 1 I N T R O D U C T I O N 4 8 3 . 2 R E A D I N G T H E F O R E S T I N D U S T R Y A S A T E X T 5 0 3.2.1 Economic Discourse and the Discourse of 'the Economy' 51 3.2.2 The Story of the British Columbia forest industry 54 3 . 3 C E N T R E S A N D M A R G I N S IN E C O N O M I C G E O G R A P H Y 5 6 3.3.1 Centre and Margin 5 7 3 . 3 . 2 Essentialism in the Margins 61 3.3.3 Movement as a Non-essentializing Metaphor 64 3 . 4 M U L T I P L E C L A S S P R O C E S S E S ( A N D O T H E R S T I C K Y S I T U A T I O N S ) 6 8 3.4.1 Grounding Movement 68 3.4.2 Multiple class processes 71 3 . 5 C O N C L U S I O N S 7 3 4 CONSTRUCTING THE BRITISH COLUMBIA FOREST INDUSTRY 75 4 . 1 I N T R O D U C T I O N : A N I N D U S T R Y IN T R A N S I T I O N 7 5 4 . 2 B E G I N N I N G S O F A N I N D U S T R Y 7 7 4.2.1 Industry Structure 78 4.2.2 Employment 79 4.2.3 Implications of Forest Policy 80 4 . 3 F O R D I S M 8 1 4.3.1 The Influence of 'Sustained Yield' Policy 8 2 4.3.2 Industry Structure 84 4.3.3 Employment 86 4.3.4 Implications of Forest Policy 90 4 . 4 P O S T - F O R D I S M 9 4 4.4.1 Restructuring and Flexibility 96 4.4.2 Employment 7 0 2 4.4.3 New Voices 104 4 . 5 Two P E R S P E C T I V E S O N T H E T R A N S I T I O N 1 0 7 4 . 6 S U M M I N G U P T H E B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A F O R E S T E C O N O M Y 1 0 9 5 REPRESENTING S M A L L BUSINESS IN T H E HINTERLAND: CANADIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY AND ALTERNATIVE FORESTRY 114 5.1 C A N A D I A N P O L I T I C A L E C O N O M Y 1 1 5 5.7.1 Harold Innis and the staples approach 115 5.1.2 The new Canadian political economy 119 5.1.3 Resource Communities in Canadian political economy 121 5.1.4 Restructuring in the staples economy 123 5.1.5 Representations of forest workers (small forest operators) in Canadian political economy accounts of the British Columbia forest industry 128 5 . 2 V A L U E - B A S E D A L T E R N A T I V E F O R E S T R Y 1 3 1 5 .2 .1 Deep Ecology and Bioregionalism 7 3 3 5 . 2 . 2 Communitarianism 7 3 5 5.2.3 Entrepreneurialism 7 3 6 5.2.4 Representations of forest workers (small forest operators) in alternative forestry accounts of the British Columbia forest industry 7 3 7 5 . 3 C O N C L U S I O N S A N D F R A M E W O R K F O R A N A L Y S I S 1 3 9 6 POSITIONING S M A L L BUSINESS IN THE HINTERLAND: INTERVIEWS WITH S M A L L FOREST OPERATORS IN THE B U L K L E Y V A L L E Y 144 6 . 1 T Y P E O F B U S I N E S S As A C L A S S I F I C A T I O N O F O P E R A T O R S 1 4 4 6 . 7 . 7 A General Profile of Operators Interviewed (Conventional and Alternative) 7 4 6 6 . 2 E N V I R O N M E N T A L E T H I C 1 4 8 6 . 2 . 7 Environmental Stewardship 7 4 8 6.2.2 Environmental Regulation 7 5 2 6.2.3 Attitudes towards Environmentalists 7 5 6 6.2.4 Summary of Environmental Attitudes Expressed By Conventional and Alternative Operators 7 5 8 6 . 3 C O M M U N I T Y V A L U E S 1 6 0 6 . 3 . 7 Community/Company Town 7 6 7 6 . 3 . 2 Attitudes toward Local Planning 7 6 6 6.3.3 Attitudes toward Local Economy 170 6.3.4 Summary of Community Attitudes Expressed by Alternative and Conventional Operators 7 7 3 6 . 4 B U S I N E S S P R A C T I C E S 1 7 4 6.4.1 Business Overview and Objectives 7 7 5 6.4.2 Production 7 8 0 6.4.3 Summary of Business Practices by Alternative and Conventional Operators 7 8 9 6 . 5 C O N C L U S I O N S 1 9 0 7 FICTIVE HINTERLANDS, FICTIVE HINTERLANDERS: REPRESENTATIONAL PRACTICES IN CANADIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY AND ALTERNATIVE FORESTRY 194 7 .1 T H E S T A P L E S D I S C O U R S E O F C A N A D I A N P O L I T I C A L E C O N O M Y 1 9 5 7 . 7 . 7 Economic Determinism in Canadian political economy 7 9 6 7 . 7 . 2 Resource Communities in the Underdeveloped Hinterland 7 9 9 7 . 2 T H E V A L U E D I S C O U R S E O F A L T E R N A T I V E F O R E S T R Y 2 0 9 7.2.1 The Ecological Foundation of Alternative Forestry 2 7 0 7 . 2 . 2 Being 'of a place' 2 7 7 iv 7.2.3 'Working with the Forest' 220 7 . 3 C O N C L U S I O N S 2 2 5 8 A N ECONOMICS OF DIFFERENCE 229 8.1 O V E R D E T E R M I N A T I O N 2 3 1 8 . 2 M U L T I P L E C L A S S P R O C E S S E S 2 3 5 8 . 2 . 7 Class Processes Defined 238 8.2.2 Economies Defined 241 8 . 3 R E V E A L I N G F O R E S T E C O N O M I E S 2 4 5 8.3.1 Jim Simpson: Independent/CommunalA/olunteer/ "born in a logging camp" 246 8.3.2 Pete Arnold: IndependentA/olunteer/ "community-minded" 248 8.3.3 Herb Niestrom: independent/ "buying a job" 2 5 7 8.3.4 Jerry Piment: capitalist/ feudal/ "my wife does the books" 2 5 3 8.3.5 Garry Nicolson: independent/communal/ "working as a family" 256 8.3.6 The O'Tooles: capitalist/communalA/olunteer/ "needed a change' 2 5 9 8 . 3 . 7 The Smiths: capitalist/communal/feudal/volunteer/ "really flexible production" 262 8.3.8 Joe Wilson: capitalist/communal/ volunteer/ "angry young (alternative forestry) man" 264 8.3.9 Fred Slessinger: Independent/Feudal/ 'small is beautiful' 267 8.3.10 The Hawthornes: communal/ "making a difference" 269 8 . 4 C O N C L U S I O N S 2 7 1 9 CONCLUSIONS: OPENINGS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA FOREST ECONOMIES 273 9.1 B R E A K I N G D O W N T H E C E N T R E A N D M A R G I N S 2 7 5 9 . 2 D I F F E R E N C E A N D D I V E R S I T Y IN B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A F O R E S T E C O N O M I E S 2 7 8 9 . 3 R E S E A R C H C O N T R I B U T I O N S A N D L I M I T A T I O N S 2 8 0 9.3.1 Empirical Contributions 280 9.3.2 Theoretical contributions 2 8 7 9.3.3 Policy implications 284 9.3.4 Incorporating multiple class processes into Land and Resource Management Planning 284 9.3.5 Research Limitations and Possibilities for Future Research 2 8 8 9 . 4 W H A T N E X T ? 2 8 9 REFERENCES 273 APPENDICES Appendix A: Copy of Survey Questionnaire 2 9 7 Appendix B: The Small Business Forest Enterprise Program 3 0 3 Appendix C: The Woodlot Program 307 Appendix D: Land and Resource Management Planning Processes 309 Appendix E: Forest District Profiles in the Case Study Area 3 7 3 v LIST OF T A B L E S TABLE 1: FOREST DEPENDENCY BY COMMUNITY (%) 29 TABLE 2: EMPLOYMENT BY FIRM SIZE IN FORESTRY IN THE BULKLEY-NECHAKO REGIONAL DISTRICT, 1991-1995 31 TABLE 3: ESTABLISHMENTS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, SMALL W O O D PRODUCTS OPERATIONS (SIC 25) IN THE BULKLEY-NECHAKO REGIONAL DISTRICT, 1991-1995 33 TABLE 4: ESTABLISHMENTS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, SMALL LOGGING OPERATIONS (SIC 04) IN THE BULKLEY-NECHAKO REGIONAL DISTRICT, 1991 -1995 33 TABLE 5: APPORTIONMENT OF ANNUAL ALLOWABLE C U T TO SMALL BUSINESS FOREST ENTERPRISE PROGRAM AND WOODLOTS BY DISTRICT, 1997 (M 3) 34 TABLE 6: SMALL BUSINESS FOREST ENTERPRISE PROGRAM REGISTRATION IN THE BULKLEY VALLEY 1987-1997 35 TABLE 7: SUMMARY OF REPRESENTATIONS OF SMALL FOREST OPERATORS IN T H E CANADIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY AND ALTERNATIVE FORESTRY LITERATURES 39 TABLE 8: CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FORDIST AND POST-FORDIST FOREST INDUSTRY 72 TABLE 9: V A L U E OF SHIPMENTS OF SAWMILLS BY EMPLOYEE SIZE, 1963-76 80 TABLE 10: SMALL BUSINESS IN THE FOREST INDUSTRY, B C , 1982 - 1984 96 TABLE 11: SUMMARY OF REPRESENTATIONS OF SMALL FOREST OPERATORS IN CANADIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY AND ALTERNATIVE FORESTRY 134 TABLE 12: SUMMARY OF T Y P E S OF BUSINESSES - CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE OPERATORS 137 TABLE 13: CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE OPERATORS BY COMMUNITY 138 TABLE 14: SUMMARY OF CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE OPERATOR DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILES 139 TABLE 15: SUMMARY OF RESPONSES DEMONSTRATING ATTITUDES TOWARDS ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP 141 TABLE 16 : SUMMARY OF RESPONSES DEMONSTRATING ATTITUDES TOWARDS ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS 145 TABLE 17: ATTITUDES TOWARDS ENVIRONMENTALISTS 148 TABLE 18: REASON(S) TO LOCATE BUSINESS IN THE BULKLEY VALLEY 154 TABLE 19: R E S O U R C E COMMUNITY VALUES 155 TABLE 20: ATTITUDES TOWARD LOCAL PLANNING AND ORGANIZATIONS 159 TABLE 21: ATTITUDES TOWARDS RESOURCE DEPENDENCY, DIVERSIFICATION AND VALUE-ADDED 162 TABLE 22: REASONS FOR STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS IN FORESTRY 166 TABLE 23: MEAN G R O S S AND NET REVENUE, 1995 169 TABLE 24: LOGGING EMPLOYEES, ALTERNATIVE AND CONVENTIONAL FIRMS, 1995 176 vi TABLE 25: MANUFACTURING EMPLOYEES, 1995 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1: T H E BULKLEY VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA 26 FIGURE 2: BRITISH COLUMBIA'S SMALL FORESTRY FIRMS BY REGION, 1986 32 FIGURE 3: SMALL BUSINESS FOREST ENTERPRISE PROGRAM REGISTRANTS BY FOREST REGION, 1993/94 34 FIGURE 4: REGISTRATION IN THE SMALL BUSINESS FOREST ENTERPRISE PROGRAM IN THE PRINCE RUPERT REGION 1987 - 1997 36 FIGURE 5: NUMBER OF SAWMILLS, BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1914 TO 1940 74 FIGURE 6: TIMBER PRODUCTION, COAST VS. INTERIOR, 1912 - 1940 75 FIGURE 7: EMPLOYMENT IN THE FOREST INDUSTRY, 1928 - 1940 75 FIGURE 8: NUMBER OF SAWMILLS, BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1945 - 1 9 7 8 80 FIGURE 9: LUMBER PRODUCTION, COAST AND INTERIOR, 1951 - 1971, (THOUSAND BOARD FEET) 81 FIGURE 10: EMPLOYMENT IN LOGGING, SAWMILLING, PULP AND PAPER, 1963 - 1980 83 FIGURE 11: NUMBER OF SAWMILLS, C O A S T AND INTERIOR, B C , 1979 TO 1993 91 FIGURE 12: EMPLOYMENT PER 1000 M 3 , 1963- 95 91 FIGURE 13: NUMBER OF ESTABLISHMENTS IN LOGGING, C O A S T AND INTERIOR B C , 1979 - 1993 94 FIGURE 14: EMPLOYMENT IN LOGGING, SAWMILLING, PULP AND PAPER, 1981 - 1995 98 FIGURE 15: YEARS IN OPERATION, CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE OPERATORS 158 FIGURE 16: G R O S S REVENUES, CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE OPERATIONS, 1995 168 FIGURE 17: N E T INCOMES, CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE OPERATIONS, 1995 169 FIGURE 18: VOLUMES PER UNIT OF EMPLOYMENT, CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE LOGGING OPERATIONS, 1995, IN CUBIC METRES 176 viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS In this thesis I argue for a new way of looking at work as multiple class processes that occur in the workplace, at home and in the community. In many ways, 'the proof is in the pudding' - I have exploited the labour of so many to produce the following pages. My supervisors Trevor Barnes and Maureen Reed provided direction, insight and encouragement, even office space when it was needed. They were always available for me in spite of their arduous schedules. Many thanks. Committee members David Edgington and Roger Hayter were encouraging and thoughtful as well. The small forest operators of the Bulkley Valley volunteered many, many hours of time to this research, and are the heart and soul of this thesis. I hope I have managed to convey, in a small way, the pleasure of meeting so many interesting people during this research. Over the years many friends and colleagues have contributed their volunteer labour as well, lending an ear or offering suggestions to improve the thesis. These contributions really cannot be underestimated. Thanks to so many, especially Juliet Rowson, Noel Castree, Bruce Braun, Maija Heimo, Amy O'Neill, Deirdre McKay, Jenn England, Maureen Sioh and Karim Dossa. Body and soul have been kept together by friends and family. In Smithers, Josette Wier, Colleen Jones, Max Lautenbacher and Stefan Schug could always be counted on for support. In Vancouver, Kate Stephens, Drew Jenkins, Tanya Behrisch, Matthias Jacob, Paul Mitchell-Banks and Helen Wilkes kept me fed and smiling. Across the country, my family, especially my parents Anne and Ross Bronson, never doubted that I would finish, and even had the grace to stop asking when. I am grateful for the financial support of a SSHRC scholarship as well as a Forest Renewal British Columbia research grant to support the empirical component of the research. ix 1 INTRODUCTION Mike paused to refill my teacup. W e had strayed off topic, going from log markets, to value-added, to lack of quality in today's consumer goods. I nibbled on the banana bread he had baked that morning; his grandmother's recipe, he had told me proudly. "What made you move up to Smithers?" I asked, returning to the questions outlined on my survey form. He then described how he had come up to visit his parents, who had moved here while he was in his twenties, and how, by coincidence, he had met up with his grade school sweetheart, married, and stayed in the area ever since. He continued: "So I actually just came here originally for a holiday. I liked the fact that you can go out and cut a Christmas tree and nobody would say anything. You didn't need a permit; you didn't need anything. I liked the freedom." The interview lasted several hours, and I felt reluctant to leave. I had been treated like a long-lost friend. His wife Susan had joined us for much of the interview, and later they had showed me around the beautiful home that Mike had built in his 'spare' time. Their daughter worked on her schoolwork upstairs. The entire family had been warm and gracious. When I glanced back from the road, they were waving from the doorway. Their horses looked on from the yard, and Hudson's Bay Mountain served as a backdrop to the idyllic scene. Driving to the next interview, I thought, not for the first time, how lucky these people seemed to me. There were long hours of work involved, no doubt, and uncertainty hung like a cloud over most small forest operators, but so often they seemed to have a sense of satisfaction with life which I had found lacking in people from the city... My next interview quickly dispelled any tendency to over-romanticize. A recent immigrant from Europe, Rolf had little good to say about his new home. He was resigned to 1 the system here, he said, but found it horrible. He hated the clear-cutting, the "volume mentality", and the lack of skills and training among British Columbia's forest workers. Although a logger himself, he thought most loggers were 'stupid' or 'idiots'. He felt sympathetic to the goals of the environmental movement, but not with the aggressive tactics that they take in British Columbia. Although he too, had a beautiful farm overlooking the scenic mountains of the Bulkley Valley, I left feeling drained and depressed. The rosy picture of the Bulkley Valley created that morning by Mike and his family dissipated like the early morning mist off Hudson's Bay mountain. Rolf fit perfectly the description of an alternative forest worker portrayed in the alternative forestry literature that I review in Chapter Five. He logged with horses, sought to maximize the value of the trees he cut, farmed with his wife and child, and minimized his impact on the environment by living a simple life. The alternative forestry literature suggests contentment and harmony for those who live by their ecoforestry convictions, but Rolf was openly and bitterly discontented. Mike, on the other hand, was a 'conventional' logger, using highly mechanized logging equipment, bringing in high revenues, logging large volumes. Nevertheless, he displayed the kind of caring attitude toward the land, community, and his family that alternative forestry claims only comes from following 'their' prescriptions. Before the interviews, I had spent considerable time in Vancouver preparing a theoretical framework to investigate the small business forest sector. From the extensive literature on the British Columbia forest industry, two schools of thought were particularly compelling, Canadian political economy and alternative forestry. The Canadian political economy school has evolved from the theory, first articulated by Harold Innis and W.A. Macintosh, that Canada's economy had a unique development trajectory as a result of its role as provider of raw material exports (staples) to be processed in the 'home' country -2 first Britain, then increasingly the United States. Canadian political economy brings together theorists working in this Innisian tradition. Although Innis is best described as a liberal economist, Canadian political economists since Innis have tended to incorporate Marxian class analysis in order to better understand the underdevelopment of Canada as a hinterland to other nations such as Britain or the United States, and of hinterland regions within Canada. Writers such as Patricia Marchak (1983,1985, 1995), Trevor Barnes and Roger Hayter (Hayter and Barnes 1990, Barnes and Hayter 1992, Barnes 1993, Hayter and Barnes 1997a and 1997b) have used a Canadian political economy perspective to explain the development of the British Columbia forest industry as a staples industry, and the effects that this development has on resource communities caught up in the 'cyclonics' of industrial capitalism in a staples economy. Alternative forestry, as the name suggests, presents an alternative approach to current forestry practices. However, it is much more - encompassing new institutional structures, new community relationships, and a new identity for forest workers. The 'University of Victoria team' including Michael M'Gonigle, Cheri Burda and Fred Gale (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994, Burda et al. 1997, 1998, M'Gonigle 1997) has brought alternative forestry, or ecoforestry, into the academic literature. At the heart of their new vision for a value-based forest economy is the belief that control over resources must be returned to 'the local level'; that small businesses in forestry and forestry communities are much better suited to manage the forest resource than centralized bureaucratic structures and large corporations. Burda et al (1998:46) writes, "...the conflict in the woods in British Columbia, and indeed, around the world entails a fundamental choice between "industrial" and "eco" forestry." 'Throughout British Columbia", they claim, "forest-dependent communities are held hostage by their over-reliance on a single corporate employer..." (ibid. p. 67), and imply that only a 3 social movement based in alternative forestry will be able to "successfully challenge the entrenched forces of centralist power" (ibid., p. 68). There is a more subtle form of hostage-taking at work here as well. Resource communities and the people working in them are also constrained by the very language used by writers like Burda to describe them. The remarks by Burda et al. highlight two important themes in my research: (i) they write about resource-dependent communities throughout British Columbia, without differentiating between resource communities; and (ii) the future of the forest industry, and all those dependent upon it, is described as a binary: either industrial or eco forestry. The Canadian political economy literature identifies and analyses the historical development and the current troubles in the British Columbia forest industry, focusing on the development of industrial forestry, whereas the alternative forestry literature emphasizes prescriptions to improve forest communities through ecoforestry. However, both literatures, in difference ways, construct singular representations of forest workers in resource communities. This dissertation rejects the homogeneous representations of resource communities and the people working in them, as well as the industrial/eco binary in which industrial forestry is hegemonic. Instead, this thesis presents a 'third way' of writing forest economies which, I will argue, makes visible the diversity of economic and social identities -British Columbia forest economies - currently contained within the singular, corporate 'British Columbia forest industry'. The role of hinterland small forest operators in the forest economy is the theoretical and empirical linchpin throughout this dissertation. My exploration of hinterland small forest operators revolves around the broad question: What does it mean to be a small forest operator in the hinterland of British Columbia? I am not only interested in the material circumstances of hinterland small forest operators, but also in the discursive representations of small forest operators, the forest industry, and the hinterland found in the forest industry literature. To aid this material and discursive exploration, I developed three research questions: 1. Do small forest operators provide labour flexibility for a restructured/restructuring corporate forest industry as they are represented in the post-Fordist Canadian political economy perspective? Or 2. Do small forest operators function as part of a community-based alternative to corporate forestry as they are represented in the value-based alternative forestry perspective? Or 3. Is there a third way of understanding small forest operators that does not require either of these homogeneous representations? To explore these questions, I focus empirically on an under-analyzed sector of the forest industry, the small business forest sector, in an under-analyzed area of the province, the Bulkley Valley1. My research is an exploration of both material practices of small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley, and the ways in which these practices are represented in the literature. Interviews with 68 small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley in 1996 revealed a diversity of business practices and structures that challenges the representations of hinterland forest workers and of resource communities found in the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures. The role of small forest operators in a post-Fordist economy as defined by Canadian political economists, and in a new value economy as defined by the alternative forestry advocates, is outlined below in section 1.2. 1.1 A Turning Point in the British Columbia Forest Industry The forest industry has been, and continues to be, undeniably important for British Columbia, in both economic and symbolic terms. Although it may never have been true that half of the provincial economy could be attributed to the forest industry (Travers 1993:183), there is no doubt that the forest industry has made a substantial contribution to the 1 The Bulkley Valley is described in section 1.2.3 of this chapter. 5 provincial economy. In 1944, there were 30,000 forest industry employees in British Columbia. In 1991, there were 85,000 direct forest industry employees (ibid. p. 204). During the post-war period, growth in the forest industry came to be expected. The changes occurring in the industry correspond loosely to what is known as the era of "Fordism" - a period of unionized, stable employment, profitable corporations and steady increases in productivity. During the post-war 'Fordist' era of forestry, resource communities appeared across the 'hinterland'. These communities rode the booms and busts of a cyclical industry. Forestry policy supported the industry through tenure arrangements which gave corporations access to the forest resource at what Patricia Marchak has called "ridiculously low" stumpage rates (Marchak 1984). It seemed a golden era - corporations, employees, unions, communities and the provincial government all fared well. However, since the mid-1970s it has been apparent that the forest industry has undergone and continues to face massive restructuring. Coupled with changing economic conditions, there have been environmental concerns over the impacts of clearcut logging practices and over-harvesting. The result has been a growing concern over the future of British Columbia's forest industry and forestry communities. Since 1970, British Columbia's system of forest management has been under intense fire from several directions. The state agencies and forest corporations which control the province's forests have faced stiff criticism from environmentalists protesting against destruction of wilderness, from native Indians asserting their rights over traditional territory, and from forest industry workers concerned about the employment impacts of government and company policies. (Taylor and Wilson 1993:34) The recession of the early 1980s seems to mark a turning point in the industry, and in the British Columbia economy more generally. The service sector and small businesses were increasingly viewed as growth industries, while commodity production was viewed as a sunset industry. This has created new concerns: for example, service sector jobs are considered to be lower paying and less secure, unlike the unionized family-supporting jobs 6 that had prevailed in the 'golden era' of forestry. In Chemainus, British Columbia, for example, an artisan community was deliberately created in a successful effort to develop tourism as a decentralized development strategy to replace jobs lost in restructuring at the local sawmill (Barnes and Hayter 1992). However, they are different jobs, and target different types of workers. Marchak attributes many of the new pressures facing British Columbia to the increased global competition in wood products as new capacity has emerged primarily in southern climates (Marchak 1997). She has argued repeatedly since the early 1990s that the global forest industry has changed so markedly that British Columbia can no longer compete in it, at least, not under the terms of the 'old game' which British Columbia seems intent on playing. Hayter and Barnes (1997a) share her concern about the nature of the current forest industry, arguing that restructuring, downsizing and layoffs, and the possibility of new "flexible production" made possible through new production technologies, have created a "forest economy in transition" (Hayter and Barnes 1997b). Furthermore, while jobs have been shed in the forest industry, volume of production has been maintained or increased by most of the industry players, raising questions about the nature of the restructuring taking place. For in spite of these changes in the industry, forestry corporations continue to wield enormous economic and political power, particularly for those communities in the province considered to be 'forestry-dependent'. Beginning in the 1970s, changes in societal values have also put pressure on the British Columbia forest industry. B.C's growth and prosperity historically have been centered around our highly envied forest resource. But while the forest industry is still the engine that drives our economy, it does not have the same comfortable operating environment and public acceptance that were evident throughout the first seven decades of this century. A great deal has changed. Today there are fewer jobs in the woods and mills due to the technological improvements and industry modernization that are imperative if British Columbia producers are to remain competitive in global markets. 7 Other societal changes are affecting the industry: Populations are shifting from rural to urban areas; the service sector is growing in economic importance; and we are living in a new era of community involvement and environmental concern. (Forest Alliance of British Columbia, nd.) Concerns over the sustainability of the forest resource combined with an increase in outdoor recreationalists put pressure on the forest industry to 'share' a resource they had come to think of as theirs alone. Concurrently, the public began to demand more democratic land use planning. These changes in societal values, coupled with economic pressures both from within and without the forest industry, make it an industry 'in transition' (Hayter and Barnes 1997; Clapp 1998), with many within the forest industry arguing that theirs is an industry in crisis (COFI 1998). 1.2 Two Perspectives on Small Business in the 'New' Era of the Forest Industry Not surprisingly, there has been a plethora of recommendations to restore the ailing forest industry and to improve conditions for the communities and workers affected by the crisis. Two competing visions of the future of the forest industry prevail in the literature. Both start with the demise of the Fordist forest industry as outlined above. One interpretation of the forest industry, advocated by Canadian political economists, explains recent restructuring through the lens of 'post-Fordism'2. This interpretation predicts a continuation, indeed an intensification of current capital accumulation strategies, with increasing lay-offs and local 'entrepreneuralism' as a response to the loss of unionized, secure, well-paying jobs. The second interpretation, advocated by the alternative forestry school, views the current crisis in the forest industry as an opportunity to return to decentralised approaches to forest management which encourage 'democracy in the forests', leading to community and 2 Mahon (1993:17) describes post-Fordism as "... a concept that helps us to think critically about the reorganization of production that is occurring. Briefly put, the argument is that we are in the midst of an epochal shift, from the "Fordist" logic of accumulation which drove the postwar boom to "post-Fordism," the precise parameters of which remain unclear although its broad outlines can be sketched." Mahon notes that of the various approaches which attempt to explain the particularities of post-Fordism, the regulation school has had the most impact on Canadian political economy (n.14, p19). My interest lies in restructuring within the "post-Fordist" British Columbia forest industry, and the how small business is caught up in this restructuring. 8 environmental sustainability. In spite of major differences between them, both schools foresee an increased role for small producers in the forest industry. Both the post-Fordist and the value-based forest economy perspectives suggest that small forest operators will become a bigger part of the forest industry in the future. In the post-Fordist view, small operators will be part of a restructured corporate forestry, providing functional flexibility to large corporations, while shouldering the burden of increased vulnerability to the booms and busts of a staples economy. In the post-Fordist view, corporate demand for increased flexibility and niche marketing - the new demands of capitalism in the late-twentieth century era of 'time-space compressions' - are the driving forces behind the move toward small business. In the alternative forestry view, 'bottom-up' approaches to community development and ecological concern motivate the growth of small businesses. In this view, it is small forest operators who will be the leaders of a community-based, ecologically sensitive new forest economy. In the following section I consider these two differing positions on the 'future' of the British Columbia forest industry. 1.2.1 Small Bus iness in the Post-Fordist Forest Industry (The Canadian Political Economy Tradition) In the broader literature on post-Fordism, flexibility is an important part of the 'new' economy. While the debate over the form and extent of 'flexibility' or 'restructuring' has been intense (see Gertler 1992), there is general recognition of the changing nature of capitalism, and that Fordist production and accompanying institutional structures are losing their hegemony. At the core of the "new regime" are new technologies, particularly computers and information systems. These new technologies allow/require a new set of production methods. The crux of the debate is whether or not new production methods provide the opportunity for increased control by workers, or of workers. 9 Proponents of flexible specialization such as Piore and Sabel (1984) argue that the new shop floor merges activities such as research and development with production, ending the labour segmentation occurring under Fordism and introducing "functional flexibility" among the labour force - a benefit to both corporation and employee. Florida (1991) claims that "the new shop floor involves both the reintegration of intellectual and manual labour and a blurring of the imposed distinctions between innovation and production." Yet many others have observed that the new production methods introduce numerical flexibility rather than functional flexibility. Numerical flexibility occurs when job re-classification increases non-union jobs and decreases union jobs, reducing costs for the corporation and introducing 'flexibility' in their production (see for example Markusen 1991; Pollert 1988). Meric Gertler is skeptical of the extent to which functional flexibility of the "new shop floor" variety has occurred. Gertler (1992:268) notes that "it is my general sense that considerably more 'progress' has been made in introducing more flexible employment relations (especially fewer and broader job descriptions, more part-time, overtime, and temporary work) than other flexible production practices." Using a Canadian political economy approach, Barnes and Hayter (1992) and Hayter and Holmes (1994) have incorporated some aspects of post-Fordism in their analyses of changes occurring on the 'workshop floor' in the manufacturing operations of some forest corporations. While there is some evidence of a move toward flexible specialization involving functional flexibility, this move has involved considerable job shedding as well. Canadian political economists have tended not to be optimistic about 'flexibility' in the forest industry, finding numerical flexibility to be a more convincing explanation of changes occurring in production than the functional flexibility described by Storper and Scott (1992) or Sabel (1989). 10 According to the interpretation of post-Fordism adopted by most Canadian political economists, small producers are dependent on major corporations, either as suppliers, subcontractors, or buyers. Thus, small and large producers together form a post-Fordist regime of accumulation. Moreover, in a staples economy such as British Columbia, post-Fordism seems only to intensify the problems of cyclical and uncertain markets, and vulnerability due to external control. As Hayter and Barnes (1990:171) observe,"... for British Columbia, at least, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. ...The basic features of [Innis'] staple model appear to have become even more deeply ingrained." Regional differences between the heartland and the resource hinterland are exacerbated in the new era of flexibility. Davis and Hutton (1989:3) found that as the service sector becomes more important in the post-Fordist economy, the divide between the "service-oriented urban economy of metropolitan Vancouver" and the "resource-based hinterland economy of the remainder of the province, particularly the interior of BC" is becoming even more marked. Government efforts to increase small business through changes in tenure are interpreted in terms of numerical flexibility by Marchak (1995). She argues that after the introduction of the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program, "...these ostensibly independent small companies sold most of their product to the large companies dominant in their territories...(ibid, p.99)."3 Shifting timber allocation to small business, according to this view, provides production flexibility to major corporations while small business shoulders the burden of uncertain timber markets. 1 . 2 . 2 The Value-based Forest Economy (Alternative Forestry) The Victoria team argues, as does Herb Hammond ... that an ecosystem-based community strategy would lead to a greater value-added outcome and more employment and revenue per unit of wood cut. It would produce a greater diversity of products, involve smaller capital investments and lower overheads, and reduce 3 The Ministry of Forests' Small Business Forest Enterprise Program is critical for many small businesses. It is outlined in Appendix B. 11 dependence on commodity markets. In addition to such benefits, the proponents of community control argue that communities would husband resources because they are dependent on them, whereas large companies use resources and move on to other regions. In a similar vein, they argue that communities would act responsibly because their members are accountable to one another. (Marchak et al. 1999:146) The ideas for alternative forestry emerged from the tradition of works such as E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973). These ideas challenge the merit of large-scale economic activity, centralist 'top-down' planning, and large organizational structures such as corporations. Advocates of alternative forestry present it as the inevitable "new value economy" (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994) which will replace the centralized, corporate model of forestry that dominated the province during the Fordist period. Alternative forestry anticipates an economy based on principles of ecological sustainability and social equity, principles that are derived from deep ecology, bioregionalism and communitarianism. As M'Gonigle (1996:12) describes it, what is needed is a move from "big established institutions with authoritative power [to] small entrepreneurial and community ones without." Deep ecologists such as Sale (1985) and Devall and Sessions (1985) inform much of the alternative forestry literature. They advocate a spiritual relationship with non-human nature. They believe that the rights of nature should be assigned independently of their value as 'resources'. This spiritual relationship with nature is developed in alternative forestry through a nurturing, compassionate relationship with the forest - no more is cut than is needed, and the forest is protected, even if individual trees are removed. In this sense, it is in sharp contrast with the industrial forestry commonly practiced today. Such deep ecology beliefs are reflected in the use of bioregionalism to delineate 'communities' and economic territorial divisions (discussed in greater detail in Chapter Five). Alternative forestry argues that political boundaries do not match with, and therefore cannot protect, naturally occurring ecosystems. An important goal of bioregionalism is the protection and enhancement of biodiversity. Human communities should be designed with natural ecosystems in mind. 12 In this literature, human communities should also operate in accordance with the beliefs of communitarianism; that is, there should be a moral recognition and concern for the community in which we live. In alternative forestry, communitarian beliefs merge with bioregionalism, and are reflected in a preference for democratic local control over natural resources and consensus-building approaches to decision-making. Another important component of the alternative forestry position is local entrepreneurialism. Alternative forestry foresees a much greater role for small business, particularly 'value-added' small business, but places them within a community-based framework. In this way, the 'dark side' of capitalism is avoided, because the entrepreneur would be guided in his/her business decisions by a sense of responsibility to the larger human and natural community. The new value forest economy, according to the alternative forestry literature, should consist of family businesses, small companies with a few employees, woodlots, and in some cases, co-operatives and community-owned businesses. This diversity of economic enterprises will contribute to community stability, according to the alternative forestry literature. As well, they will contribute to ecological sustainability through small-scale, labour-intensive operations which emphasize value over volume. 1.3 Discourse, Representation, and the Forest Industry The two perspectives outlined above both begin with the crisis in Fordism, and a forest industry in transition. Yet they foresee very different futures for the forest industry and the people affected by it. Post-Fordist Canadian political economy foresees an intensification of the uncertainty that pervades staples development, with reductions in the work force, capital intensification, and more unstable communities. Alternative forestry assures us of an increased labour force, decreasing reliance on major corporations and stable, environmentally sustainable communities. How are these two schools able to read 13 the same events so differently? How is it possible for such disparate schools of thought to be equally compelling? Why does it 'make sense' for M'Gonigle and Parfitt (1994:73) to declare that "[w]hether it's woodlot owners or furniture makers, small businesses are the underpinning of the emerging new value economy", or for Marchak to write that "...the essential ingredients of communities are missing [in resource towns]. There is no public involvement in policy decisions, the population has no shared history, there is still no independent business community to speak of..."? Bruno Latour writes "we look at the way in which someone convinces someone else to take up a statement, to pass it along, to make it more of a fact" (Latour 1986:5, cited in Willems-Braun 1996:276). The representations of forest workers found in the two stories outlined above result from what I call the 'staples discourse' of Canadian political economy and the 'value discourse' of alternative forestry. These discourses, I argue, pass from writer to writer, and are rarely questioned. In Canadian political economy, staples discourse creates the "hinterland", a pool of resources, a place determined by economics, peopled by transient, isolated victims of the cyclonics of capitalism. It makes sense, within this discourse, for Patricia Marchak to write in one of the most influential studies of the forest industry, Green Gold, that "the structure of the industry creates a transient labour force; that very little about the resource work-force can be explained in terms of personal characteristics, but much in terms of class and regional origins" (Marchak 1983: xiii), or elsewhere, that Company towns, strung-out farming settlement, ranch-lands, marginal tourist resorts, fishing villages, frontier townsites - outside of the heartland Canada has been made up of these. They have manufactured little besides a folklore which is rich with rage and humour, and though they have sported the Coca-Cola signs in the same way as do the Mayan towns in the Yucatan, they have not become replicas of American life. (Marchak 1990[1980]:198) 14 Given the importance of the British Columbia forest industry to the province, it is not surprising that staples discourse also extends into everyday usage in British Columbia, as evidenced in the following, not untypical newspaper article, taken from the Vancouver Sun: The rain drips and the canopy crowds out the light. Huckleberry erupts from stumps with telltale springboard holes that look like accusing eyes in the gloom, reminders that on the first cut weary loggers felled this timber with axes and two-man crosscut saws. That was long ago and the men came from forgotten towns that rode the boom times up and then, when the bust finally came, just fell off the map of memory. British Columbia's landscape is littered with these obscure parables of boom and bust, the cycles that have governed most of the province's history as a commodity-driven economy. And if Greater Vancouver is booming along in the post-industrial information economy, the pain of the present resource bust resonates in single-industry commodity towns like Ucluelet. (Hume 1999) In the other discourse, that of the alternative forestry literature, talk of staples is replaced by talk of 'value'. The hinterland is replaced by bioregions, and the people working there have a natural sense of place that ensures a harmonious existence with the natural and human community. The considerable differences between these discourses, and yet the conviction with which both are held, raises questions about representation. By repeating and reinforcing particular representations of the hinterland, of resource communities, and of forest workers, these two metanarratives of the forest industry and those working in it are told over and over again, crowding out the possibility of different narratives. In demonstrating the partiality and incompleteness of these (meta)narratives of 'the British Columbia forest industry', I seek to open up space for other, equally partial and incomplete but different and multiple, stories of the many forest economies which are at times caught up in the British Columbia forest industry, and at times completely apart from it. All of these stories combine to create British Columbia forest economies. 15 1.4 Outline of the Dissertation In the following chapter I provide an overview of the research approach used in the dissertation. The dissertation explores both the material practices and discursive treatment of small forest operators in hinterland forest communities of British Columbia, using the case study method as the primary research tool. In Chapter Three I review three key aspects of the recent 'cultural turn' in economic geography which I find helpful to understand what it means to be a small forest operator in the hinterland of British Columbia. I first explore the idea of "reading the forest economy as a text" to develop my argument that the 'British Columbia forest industry' is a hegemonic narrative, rather than as a collection of truth statements about economic activities. In doing so I borrow from Gibson-Graham's argument that the discourse of hegemonic capitalism -the economy - makes it impenetrable by alternative development schemes. Deconstructing this discourse of capitalism, as Gibson-Graham do, reveals a somewhat deflated, far less intimidating capitalism which can be understood as one of many economic forms. A second theme I explore in Chapter Three, found in some post-structuralist and feminist economic geographies, and used more commonly by social theorists, is the metaphor of the centre and the margin. Much of the work in cultural studies has been about or from 'the margin' - the social space of women, gays, ethnic minorities. Working from the margins of British Columbia forest industry, both geographically and metaphorically, I draw on work that presents a challenge to the dominant cultural and economic 'centre'. This leads me to my third theme, which is to develop a way of thinking about economic identity which does not require, and indeed, upsets, the centre and the margin; I do this by developing small forest operator subjectivities around multiple class processes. In Chapter Four, I situate the study both empirically and discursively. I begin by reviewing the British Columbia forest industry as presented in the literature. I pay particular 16 attention to what is included in this literature, and what is excluded. At the centre of this hegemonic story of the British Columbia forest industry is corporate forestry. Small business plays a historically important but marginal role in most accounts. Furthermore, in spite of the economic importance of Interior forest production, the important differences between Coastal and Interior practices are often overlooked, resulting in a predominantly Coastal representation of the industry, with implications for small business and resource communities. Important analyses of the British Columbia forest industry have come from writers working in the Canadian political economy tradition. This tradition is explored in Chapter Five, focusing particularly on the ways in which small business and hinterland resource communities are portrayed within this work. Within Canadian political economy, hinterland resource workers are implicitly or explicitly described as reluctant pawns for locally based, foreign-controlled corporations, transient, underskilled and inflexible men (accompanied at times by families) who tie their fortunes to corporations rather than community. They are a marginal component of the central, and centralized, forest economy. The value-based alternative forestry school of thought is also explored in Chapter Five. Again, I delve into the role of small business and hinterland resource communities as described (or more often prescribed) in the alternative forestry literature. In the alternative forestry literature, hinterland forest workers are depicted as deeply committed to their natural environment. They are community- and family-oriented entrepreneurs, who, given access to the timber resource, would practice ecologically sensitive and community-minded sustainability. According to the alternative forestry literature, if there were different institutional structures in place, small businesses in resource communities could become the central story of a new value-based forest economy. 17 Both of these schools of thought share a common acceptance of the staples discourse found in accounts of 'the British Columbia forest industry', as well as a strong conviction that something has gone terribly wrong in the forest industry. However, their representations of small business and forestry communities differ considerably. So much so, that they are easily juxtaposed one against the other, and from the literature reviewed in Chapter Five I create a framework of analysis, which is used to structure the interviews with small forest operators, and which is described in Chapter Six. Using the results of the case study interviewees, in Chapter Six I attempt to 'fit' the small forest operators of the Bulkley Valley into the representations described above, but I find it is an uncomfortable fit - bits keep spilling out. Rather than the essentialized 'conventional' or 'alternative' forest workers found in the literature, the case study documents a wide range of different types and forms of small business, and small forest operators. This diversity of practices challenges the representations of small business and resource communities in both literatures, and suggests a re-reading of the story of the British Columbia forest industry presented in Chapter Four. In Chapter Seven I deconstruct the narratives of the forest industry constructed by the Canadian political economy and the alternative forestry literatures to reveal a staples discourse and a value discourse which propel the particular representations of small forest operators found in each of the literatures. The staples discourse of Canadian political economy, with its emphasis on the heartland/hinterland relationship, resource dependency, underdevelopment and community instability in the hinterland, is deconstructed to reveal a fictive hinterland. This fictive hinterland is a discursively powerful construct, contributing to the very issues Canadian political economists attempt to resolve. In another section the value discourse of alternative forestry is deconstructed to reveal its own fictive hinterland based on a blend of communitarianism, entrepreneurialism and bioregionalism. 18 Both Canadian political economy and the alternative forestry literature are rejected as useful explanatories of British Columbia forest economies because of their essentialized representations of small business and hinterland resource communities. In Chapter Eight I explore an alternative form of explanation that seeks to avoid this tendency toward essentialism. Re-interpreting case study material through the understanding of multiple class processes outlined in Chapter Three, I provide an alternative reading of hinterland small businesses in forestry. I argue that this re-defined understanding of class and subjectivity is able to address the diversity of economic and social identities found in the case study without forcing a fixed, essentialized identity onto small forest operators. Chapter Nine follows with a summary of the theoretical, empirical and policy contributions of the dissertation. Understanding British Columbia forest economies within this framework of difference points to the possibility of multiple development trajectories that enable movement away from the corporate, crisis-oriented forestry currently dominating the forest (although I do not attempt to define these here). Policy implications of this framework of difference are presented by reconsidering some of the small business institutional structures and how they might change in recognition of the heterogeneity of small forest operators in the hinterland of British Columbia. 19 2 R E S E A R C H A P P R O A C H In this chapter I describe the research approach used to explore the research questions defined in Chapter One: the case study area and why it was selected, the fieldwork, and methods used to analyze the data. This dissertation, in many ways, is a reflection and exploration of my own journeys between centre and margin. I move between standard accounts of the development of the British Columbia forest industry, and lesser known events and groups, to draw attention to the discursive strength of these standard accounts. I shift between theories that seek to explain the positioning of forest workers in the current era and conversations with forest workers about their experiences of the current era. And, in the course of conducting this research, I physically moved back and forth between the heartland and the hinterland, a lot. My travels to and from the university reflect both my personal ambiguity of having to 'place' myself in either Smithers or Vancouver, and my intellectual shuffling between centre and margin. In this section I describe very briefly the theoretical approach which is further explored in Chapter Three, then describe the case study approach used in this research and the case study area. 2.1 Exploring Discourses My methodological approach in the dissertation is based upon discourse analysis. Discourses, explain Barnes and Duncan (1992:8), are ...frameworks that embrace particular combinations of narratives, concepts, ideologies and signifying practices, each relevant to a particular realm of social action. . . . A discourse constitutes the limits within which ideas and practices are considered to be natural; that is, they set the bounds on what questions are considered relevant or even intelligible. Discourses are "...practices of signification, a framework for understanding the world. As such, discourses are both enabling as well as constraining: they determine answers to questions, as well as the questions that can be asked" (ibid.). It is this sense of being both enabling and constraining that I draw from my analysis of Canadian political 20 economy and alternative forestry. I consider these two bodies of literature as discourses, as a way of marking them as discursively powerful but socially constructed, and therefore open to deconstruction. My research is an exploration of both material practices and representations of these practices. While this approach has been used in reading the landscape as a text (Duncan 1990; Barnes and Duncan 1992) and in interpreting the idea of 'nature' (Cronon 1995a), it has been largely ignored in the work on British Columbia's (or Canada's) resource hinterlands. In this dissertation I seek to establish that discursive representations of hinterland small forest operators (and forest workers generally) and their 'reality' are mutually constitutive. Linda McDowell (1997:39) observes with respect to urban landscapes: "...the best new work on urban landscapes is distinguished by its determination to link together the material production of the built environment, symbolic meanings and forms of representation and the sets of material and social practices facilitated or constrained by both physical and symbolic forms." Canadian political economy has been a useful framework for understanding the development of a staples economy in British Columbia and Canada, and the position Canada has held in the world economy. But it has also eclipsed the development of alternative economic structures by its hegemonic representation of structural forces that create dependency and underdevelopment in the resource hinterland. Alternative forestry, in the way it is presented in the literature is enabling in that it presents the possibility of an economy in which individual agency is capable of resisting and overcoming structural forces; yet it too constrains, by representing small business owners and resource communities in narrow (albeit favorable) terms. Delving in the margins of the British Columbia forest industry, it becomes evident that a familiar story is often told about the development of the British Columbia forest industry. It is a story about corporate concentration, foreign ownership, and recently, 21 restructuring. It is an important story, but it is only partial. In Chapter Four I explore how, and what, this story includes and excludes. The partiality of this story, with its focus on corporate and Coastal forestry, has produced and is the product of a staples discourse. The more familiar this hegemonic story becomes, the more difficult it is to explore other stories. In the "new Canadian political economy" (e.g. Clement and Williams 1989), the acceptance of a staples discourse combined with an analytical interest in class enables certain questions about the hinterland, resource communities and forest workers to be asked, and others not. In the alternative forestry value discourse, an indiscriminate acceptance of small business, localness, and community has prevented questions of a critical nature. The bounds around research questions are delineated by the limits of the discourse, encouraging certain research outcomes and preventing others. In using discourse analysis to probe accounts of the forest industry, my purpose is not to 'prove' that these accounts are false. Bruce Willems-Braun explains this effectively: Before I begin, let me clarify my intent. The purpose of showing images to be constructions is not to reveal them as 'false' but rather to question the certainty and obviousness of their 'truths'. The point bears repeating: to read images as m/srepresentations is to tacitly accept what Timothy Mitchell (1989) has called a 'modern enchantment' that assumes that truth lies outside and beyond representation. Yet to assume that power operates through m/s-representation (or mystification) is to leave re-presentation itself unquestioned; it is to forget that 'truth' is not prior to, but always an effect of, representation. 2.2 The Case Study Approach The case study approach includes a wide range of interwoven interview, observation and participation techniques that have, as a unifying theme, the importance of 'getting out there'. Yin (1994) suggests that "you would use the case study method because you 22 deliberately wanted to cover contextual conditions - believing that they might be highly pertinent to your phenomenon of study." The research approach used in this project is for the most part intensive rather than extensive, qualitative rather than quantitative. The case study is structured to enable an intensive 'close-up' exploration of small forest operators in the hinterland, rather than a representative sampling to make generalizations about a larger population. This requires a different approach to analysis than would be appropriate in a positivist, strictly quantitative study. Statistical approaches, for example, have been employed cautiously, and are not left to speak for themselves, but are put into the context of interview material, secondary data or theory. Schoenberger (1992:198) argues that "although statistical generalizations cannot be made [using intensive studies], the method does permit analytical generalizations relevant to theoretical positions." Furthermore, Because intensive studies allow the identification of causal agents in the particular contexts relevant to them, it provides a better basis than extensive studies for recommending policies which have a 'causal grip'on the agents of change [whereas] extensive research aids policy analysis by picking out general trends and patterns synoptically. (original emphasis) (Sayer and Morgan 1985:154) One of the realities of using a qualitative approach is that results may not be statistically reliable, nor is this an objective of such a study. As Eyles (1988:11) observes, "interpretative geography does not stand outside its subject-matter: it is part of the investigation and of the discourse itself." However, results will quite likely have greater validity, where validity refers to the meaningfulness of results. While it is possible to make extrapolations using a qualitative approach, the "extrapolations are logical, thoughtful and problem-oriented rather than purely empirical, statistical and probabilistic (Quinn Pattonl 986 cited by Sykes 1991:7). 23 Schoenberger (1991:11) argues that a qualitative approach " ...allows a more comprehensive and detailed elucidation of the interplay among strategy, history, and circumstances. By contrast, the standardized survey instrument must necessarily standardize and simplify a complex reality." And Healey and Rawlinson (1993) observe that "despite the debate about the validity and reliability of qualitative research, it is apparent that, as economic geographers become more concerned with examining processes, relationships and interactions, rather than simply identifying patterns and outcomes, intensive research methods and non-standardized interview techniques are becoming more frequently used ..." (Healey and Rawlinson 1993:345). Feminist geographers have been critical of traditional research approaches that create an arbitrary and false distinction between researcher and research 'subjects'. The differences I anticipated between myself - a 'girl from the city' with more years spent in school than in the workforce - and my interviewees - men who worked 'in the bush' - were evident in interviews, but not nearly to the extent I had expected. The barriers I felt would impede communication - social class, especially education, age, gender (race I assumed correctly would not be a barrier, only three of the interviewees were not white, and I am a white Canadian of mixed Anglo-Celtic descent) - were not insurmountable. What seemed to be more important to most interviewees was to know where I was 'positioned' early on in the interviews. And, often, it seemed necessary that I be open to considerable teasing about my academic, urban lifestyle. This 'bantering' is not something that usually appears in the results of a case study. However, in my study it was a critical element in establishing a rapport that allowed for dialogue. I mention this here because this seemingly insignificant banter was often a point of entry into an exploration of differences - an exploration that often led to recognition of common ground. 24 By the end of the interview process I was convinced that attempting to categorize the individuals I had met into groups based on class, occupation, gender, ethnicity, politics, location and so on, would not reflect the diversity of identities I encountered through this research. The challenge was finding a theoretical lens robust enough to address issues of exploitation and underdevelopment, where they existed, without assuming they existed; to explore rather than essentialize the identity of the individuals I call small forest operators. One such theoretical lens is the multiple class processes approach explored in Chapter Eight. A final note on my approach to 'doing' a case study: Forest Renewal British Columbia, a provincial Crown corporation, provided funding for the case study, and in order to meet my obligations to them I needed to maintain a 'policy' perspective throughout the study as well. This has contributed to the research project, I feel, by necessitating a conversation between the policy analyst, the economist and the (budding) social theorist within me. The policy analyst and economist could be horrible bullies at times, arguing that the social theorist was stirring things up for nothing. I am glad she was able to persevere. 2.2.1 The Bulkley Valley as a C a s e Study Area The Bulkley Valley, British Columbia was chosen as the case study area because it fit the six main criteria for the selection of the case study area, which I had derived from my research questions. These criteria are described in the next section. First, I provide a brief description of the Bulkley Valley area. For the purposes of this study, the Bulkley Valley is defined as the geographical area between the Hazeltons (New Hazelton, South Hazelton, Old Hazelton) and Burns Lake along the Highway 16 corridor (see Figure 1), about 1300 km north from Vancouver. Four major communities are included in this definition: the Hazeltons, Smithers, Houston and Burns Lake. Small communities that are also important in the local economy include 25 Moricetown, Telkwa, Decker Lake and Granisle. The population of the Bulkley Valley is approximately 13,000. Smithers has the largest population at 5,718, followed by Burns Lake, Houston and the Hazeltons. Figure 1: The Bulk ley Valley, Br i t ish Co lumb ia The Bulkley Valley fit all the criteria I set out for my case study. And, unlike other areas of the province, such as Port Alberni on the coast, or the Slocan Valley in the east of the province, few researchers (in this field of study) had ventured into the 'Northern Interior', which I found intriguing.4 The only drawback to the area was that, according to available statistics, there were fewer value-added manufacturers in this area than most areas of the province. On the other hand, I wondered why. 4 This has since changed with the location of U N B C in Prince George, and the increase in F R B C funding of social science research. See , for example, research projects by Halseth and Booth (in process), and Heather Myers (ongoing) at the University of Northern British Columbia. 26 Prior to contact, the Bulkley Valley was predominantly Wet'suwet'en territory, with some Carrier territory in the vicinity of Burns Lake, and Gitxsan territory meshing with Wet'suwet'en territory around the Hazeltons. There are Indian reserves in the Hazeltons, and near Burns Lake. Moricetown, a twenty-minute drive from Smithers, is a Wet'suwet'en reserve. There are four Forest Districts in the Bulkley Valley: Kispiox Forest District, located in Old Hazelton, Bulkley Forest District, located in Smithers, Morice Forest District, located in Houston, and Lakes Forest District, located in Burns Lake. These districts are part of the Prince Rupert Forest Region, a much larger area which extends from the Coast at Prince Rupert, west to the Lakes Forest District, and to the Northern border of British Columbia. The government's regional centre for the Prince Rupert Forest Region is Smithers. 2.2.2 Case Study Selection Criteria Since I was curious to learn about small forest operators in the hinterland of British Columbia, particularly in light of the theoretical perspectives on the forest industry which emerge from Canadian political economy and alternative forestry, several criteria were of importance. It was necessary that the area be in 'the hinterland' as most of the province is referred to in both the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures. Leaving the Lower Mainland easily satisfied this criterion! Because of my interest in restructuring in the forest industry and the role of small business in this restructuring, a number of related criteria emerged. The area must be considered 'forestry-dependent'; with the primary forest industry in the area being sawmilling, rather than pulp/paper. There needed to be major forest corporations in the area; and there needed to be small forestry-related harvesting and production businesses. I outline the rationale for these criteria below. A final criterion related more specifically to the alternative forestry literature, which emphasizes the importance of local resource planning, namely that there have been local 27 resource planning initiatives in the area since at least 1990. These criteria are described more fully below. 1. The area is in "the Hinterland." This is a fairly straightforward criterion that emerges from my interest in the "heartland-hinterland" economic relationship described in Canadian political economy. The Bulkley Valley, located 1300 km from Vancouver, clearly satisfies this criterion. It was also important to locate in a relatively small community surrounded by 'nature' to explore some of the assumptions of alternative forestry about community. With only one highway traversing it, the Bulkley Valley is indeed surrounded by forest, mountains and rivers. It is well known among hikers, skiers and naturalists as a scenic recreation destination, but too far out of reach for most Vancouverites to visit. 2. The area is considered 'forestry-dependent' This criterion is critical for understanding the continuing relevance of staples theory to the current political economy of British Columbia; the potential impact of alternative forestry development strategies, and for a consideration of what 'dependency' really means. Although the terminology was unsettling to me from the outset, I wanted to comply with the assumptions of the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures as an entry point into the research. Home and Robson's (1993) community dependency data calculate forest-dependency in communities throughout British Columbia. The average forestry dependency based on Home and Robson's 1993 data is 27.5%; all communities in the Bulkley Valley are considerably higher (44 - 63%), as shown in Table 1. 28 Table 1: Forest Dependency by Communi ty (%) Bulkley Valley Cariboo-Ft George Smithers-Houston 44 Smithers-Houston 44 Burns Lake 51 Burns Lake 51 Hazelton 63 Vanderhoof 59 Williams Lake 45 East Kootenay Quesnel 50 Fernie 14 Prince George 47 Cranbrook-Kim berley 20 McBride-Valemont 45 Invermere 26 Average for Cariboo-Ft George 49 Average for East Kootenay 20 Vancouver Island and Coast Central Kootenay Alberni 40 Castelgar-Arrow Lakes 45 Gulf Islands 2 Creston 16 Victoria 2 Nelson 28 Sooke-Port Renfrew 23 Salmon Arm 24 Courtenay-Comox 11 Golden 56 Campbell River 41 Revelstoke 20 Bute Inlet 9 Average for Central Kootenay 32 Duncan 29 Lake Cowichan 55 Okanagan-Boundary Ladysmith 32 Peachland 13 Alert Bay 15 Kelowna 6 Port Hardy 48 Grand Forks-Greenwood 35 Nanaimo 16 Trail-Rossland 4 Parksville-Qualicum 9 Vernon 17 Average for Vancouver Island 24 Spallumcheen 23 Princeton 29 Peace River-Stikine Oliver-Osseous 4 Dawson Creek 24 Penticton 7 Fort St.John 15 Average for Okanagan 15 Fort Nelson 28 Ocean Falls 25 Lillooet-Thompson Kitimat-Terrace 28 Squamish 32 Hazelton 63 Lillooet 36 Stewart 24 Ashcroft 17 Queen Charlotte Islands 35 Merritt 36 Prince Rupert 20 Kamloops 12 Stikine 4 North Thompson 54 Average for Peace River-Stikine 27 Average for Lillooet-Thompson 31 Average for BC 29 Source: Home and Robson 1993 (excluding LM) 29 3. There are major forest corporations in the area The Canadian political economy literature suggests that the presence of major forest corporations throughout the resource towns of the hinterland has strongly affected the development of British Columbia's forest industry. Indeed, almost all forest-dependent communities in British Columbiathere have at least one major producer; this criterion was easily satisfied. There are seven major processing facilities in the study area: Babine Forest Products Burns Lake Houston Forest Products Houston Northwood Houston Pacific Inland Resources Smithers Repap Smithers Skeena Cellulose (Carnaby) Hazelton Kispiox Forest Products Hazelton The combined output of these companies in 1995, the year prior to the interviews, was 1.2 billion board feet of lumber (Ministry of Forests 1995). All facilities require, to varying degrees, purchased wood to meet the capacity of their facilities. Only Northwood, in Houston, is close to self-reliant, but even it purchases some timber. The Small Business Forest Enterprise Program is a major source of purchased wood for local mills. For example, one mill that normally purchased approximately 180,000 m3/yr purchased two percent of this from private sales and one percent from woodlot licensees. The remaining 97% of timber was purchased from Small Business Forest Enterprise Program license holders (fieldwork 1996). The employment data shown in Table 2 for the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District give some indication of the numbers of people employed by major corporations versus small to medium sized firms in the area, although the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District 30 encompasses a larger area than just the Bulkley Valley, and does not include the Hazeltons. Table 2: Employment by Firm Size in Forestry in the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District, 1991-1995 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 200 + Wood Products (25) 4 4 4 5 7 Employees Logging (04) 1 1 0 0 0 50 -199 Wood Products (25) 7 7 8 8 10 Employees Logging (04) 0 0 1 0 2 1 - 4 9 Wood Products (25) 30 23 27 30 34 Employees Logging (04) 288 285 288 317 340 Source: Business Register, Statistics Canada 4. The primary forest industry in the area is sawmilling, rather than pulp/paper. This criterion was necessary because alternative development strategies, such as those recommended in the alternative forestry literature are possible only with relatively low capital-intensity and low investment requirements, as the above data on small and medium-sized firms indicates. Therefore it is less likely that forestry-based alternative development strategies would occur in a community dependent on a pulp mill because the pulp and paper sector is more oriented to economies of scale. In the Bulkley Valley there are no pulp mills, although sawmills in the area are integrated with pulp facilities elsewhere and there is considerable trade of logs and chips between the mills. 5. There are small forestry-related harvesting and production businesses in the area Concentration of industry is a predominant feature of the British Columbia forest industry. Proponents of alternative forestry claim that there is a move toward decentralization in both production and governance of the forest resource (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994). To investigate alternative forestry 'on the ground' I wanted to situate the case 31 study in an area where small forestry businesses were operating. Figure 2 shows the distribution of small forestry firms in the province by region for 1986. The Bulkley Valley is part of the Nechako region. Figure 2: British Columbia's Small Forestry Firms by Region, 1986 600 -, Source: Ministry of Regional Development, 1990 Table 3 and Table 4 compare employment in small wood products operations versus small logging operations in the Bulkley-Nechako regional district between 1991 and 1995. There are more of both types of operators with 1 - 4 employees, suggesting that very small firms are more common than small to medium enterprises. There is considerably more employment in logging than in wood products in the small business forest sector in this area. Also, there has been an increase in the number of logging operations with fewer than twenty employees during this period. Small wood products operations with fewer than five employees have grown during this period. 32 Table 3: Establishments by Number of Employees, Small Wood Products Operations (SIC 25) in the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District, 1991-1995 # employees 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 20-49 5 4 3 5 4 10-19 4 2 5 4 6 5-9 9 2 4 4 4 1-4 12 15 15 17 20 Source: Business Register, Statistics Canada Table 4: Establishments by Number of Employees, Small Logging Operations (SIC 04) in the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District, 1991-1995 # employees 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 20-49 16 19 22 17 15 10-19 29 29 42 44 42 5-9 37 45 46 55 49 1-4 206 192 178 201 234 Source: Business Register, Statistics Canada An important aspect of small business in forestry is the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program5. Province-wide, the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) allocated to the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program is 13%. In the Bulkley Valley, on average, the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program is apportioned 22% of the AAC (see Table 5), suggesting that there is an active small business forest sector in the area, in spite of the relatively low figures for the Nechako region (which includes the Bulkley Valley) in Figure 2. As illustrated in Table 5, there is considerable variation between districts even within the Bulkley Valley. Only 9.3% of the Morice District is apportioned to the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program, although the Morice District has the highest AAC in the Bulkley Valley. The Lakes District has apportioned 29% of its AAC to the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program. 5 The Small Business Forest Enterprise Program is described in more detail in Chapter Four and Appendix B. In brief, it is a program administered through he Ministry of Forests to provide small business with timber through competitive bidding process. 33 Table 5: Apportionment of Annual Allowable Cut to Small Business Forest Enterprise Program and Woodlots by district, 1997 (m3) SBFEP Woodlots Kispiox 242,466 (22.2%) 3,687 (0.3%) Total AAC 1,092,611 Bulkley 245,476 (27.4%) 6,500 (0.7%) 895,000 Morice 184,870 (9.3%) 5,815 (0.3%) 1,985,815 Lakes 438,939 (29.3%) 21,202 (1.4%) 1,500,000 Avg. for BV Avg. for BC 22% 13% Source: Ministry of Forests 1997a The Prince Rupert Forest Region (which contains the Bulkley Valley) has fewer Small Business Forest Enterprise Program registrants than other areas of the province such as the Vancouver Forest Region (see Figure 3). However, it also has a much lower population density. Figure 3: Small Business Forest Enterprise Program Registrants by Forest Region, 1993/94 Source: Ministry of Forests Annual Report 1993/94 Number of sales in the Prince Rupert Forest Region actually exceeds sales in the Vancouver Region for 1993/94 (199 versus 169 sales), suggesting that the program is of far greater importance in the Prince Rupert region. Table 6 provides registration data for the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program in the Bulkley Valley from 1987 - 1997. 34 Table 6: Small Business Forest Enterprise Program Registration in the Bulkley Valley 1987-1997 1987 1992 1997 Kispiox 139 92 46 % change -34 -50 Bulkley 158 112 65 % change -29 -42 Morice 96 51 21 % change -47 -59 Lakes 273 187 112 % change -32 -40 Source: M O F Small Business Reporting. 1997 Category 1 registrants may not own or lease a timber processing facility. Category 2 registrants must own or lease a timber processing facility, which includes sawmills as well as specialty mills that upgrade and further process forest products. Throughout this period Category 1 has many more registrants than Category 2, but in both categories, registration has been declining, as shown in Figure 4. While it appears that involvement in the program is declining, it is important to distinguish between active registrants and actively bidding registrants. Many 'active' registrants will not actually bid in a given year, for a variety of reasons such as opportunities for other work, inappropriate sales types offered, or frustration with the process (fieldwork 1996). 35 Figure 4: Registration in the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program in the Prince Rupert Region 1987 -1997 600 1987 1992 1997 Source: M O F Small Business Reporting. 1997 In most of the forest districts in the Bulkley Valley a relatively small number of registrants purchase the majority of Timber Sales (Willis 1997, Small Business Officer, Ministry of Forests, pers. comm.). A recent survey estimated the number of registrants that are actively bidding on Timber Sales at 99 for the Lakes, 15 for the Morice, 52 for the Bulkley, and 24 for the Kispiox Forest District (ibid.). Although the number of registrants in the program has declined, the program is considered to be effective and has been largely accepted by industry (Gillespie 1991). 6. Local planning initiatives have taken place at least since 1990 Within the alternative forestry literature, local planning initiatives are considered an important way to increase local control over natural resources. Accordingly, I also sought to explore the involvement of small forest operators in local planning processes, and whether this involvement 'matches' the representations of local planning in the alternative forestry literature. A number of local planning initiatives appeared around the province in the 1990s. Some of these were initiated through the provincial government, such as the Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE), and Land and Resource Management Plans 36 ( L R M P s ) . Others , however , evo lved f rom local g rassroots initiatives. T w o of these occur red within the Bulk ley Va l ley . T h e Commun i t y R e s o u r c e s Boa rd that w a s organ ized in Smi thers b e c a m e well known around the province a s a mode l of a local ly dr iven, c o n s e n s u s - b a s e d planning p rocess . E v e n earl ier, the Ministry of Fores ts es tab l ished the Smi thers Forest Adv iso ry Commi t tee in 1976 to resolve conf l icts over forestry in the a rea . T h e Framework for Watershed Stewardship w a s comple ted in the V i l lage of Haze l ton , and rece ived attention f rom a number of a c a d e m i c s (see Mai t land and Aber ly 1992; Marchak 1995; Bu rda e t a l 1998). Other p r o c e s s e s in the Bulk ley Va l ley were initiated by the Ministry of Fores ts under the Land and R e s o u r c e Managemen t P lann ing P r o c e s s . T h e K isp iox District (Hazel tons) comple ted their L R M P planning p rocess in 1997, the first to be comp le ted in the study a rea . T h e Bulk ley District L R M P w a s approved in 1998, a l though it w a s essent ia l ly comple ted by the t ime I arr ived in the s u m m e r of 1996 (this w a s the final ou tcome of the p rocess which began a s the Bulk ley Va l ley Commun i t y R e s o u r c e s Board) . T h e L a k e s L R M P , in Burns Lake , w a s in p rocess during the study per iod. T h e Mor ice District (Houston) had not started a L R M P at the t ime of the study, but Ministry of Fores ts personne l told m e that they at tempted to include local s takeholders in resource dec is ion-mak ing . 2.3 Framework for Data Collection and Analysis In this sect ion I descr ibe the p rocess of des ign ing the quest ionnai re , interviewing, data gather ing, and ana lys is . T h e results of this p rocess are desc r ibed in Chap te r S ix , and inform d iscuss ion throughout the dissertat ion. 6 The L R M P process is described in Appendix D. 37 Interview questions were designed to explore the first two research questions outlined earlier: 1. Do small forest operators provide labour flexibility for a restructured/restructuring corporate forest industry as they are represented in the post-Fordist Canadian political economy perspective? Or 2. Do small forest operators function as part of a community-based alternative to corporate forestry as they are represented in the value-based alternative forestry perspective? My readings of the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures guided my choice of three main topic areas for the questionnaire: environmental ethic, community values, and business practices. These topics are discussed in detail in Chapter Five. I provide an overview of the criteria used to explore small forest operators values and practices below in Table 7. The questionnaire (attached as Appendix A) was designed to guide an exploration and discussion of small forest operators experiences, but I also wanted to ensure that interviewees felt comfortable with the questions asked. I began interviews with more general questions about their businesses, and moved on to employment and production information. This led to more specific areas such as their experiences with the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program and environmental regulations, as well as involvement in local planning and thoughts on the future of forestry. Questions were structured and semi-structured. Some questions were direct, seeking a straightforward short answer; others were indirect, investigative, and open-ended. Interview pre-tests were conducted, and indicated that thirty minutes was sufficient to answer all questions in the survey questionnaire. The UBC ethics review committee approved the questionnaire. A copy of the questionnaire is included as Appendix A. 38 Table 7: Summary of Representations of small forest operators in the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures Environmental Ethic Community Values Bus iness Practices Conventional operators: C a n a d i a n polit ical e c o n o m y • exploit ist app roach to land: nature a s resource • a c c e p t s exist ing cut a l locat ions a s sus ta inab le • res is ts regulat ion wh ich h inders product ion • dependen t on large corporat ion • dependen t on c o m p a n y for work • not preferent ial to local hiring • dea ls only with major corporat ion in local a r e a • be l ieves that majors and government c a n determine best use of r esou rces • not invo lved in p lanning activi t ies • equ ipment is g e a r e d to product ion a n d ef f ic iency • e m p h a s i s is on profit-max imiza t ion • capi ta l - in tensive prac t ices preferred • v o l u m e - b a s e d product ion Alternative Operators: Alternat ive v a l u e - b a s e d forest e c o n o m y • va lues nature: m a k e s the best use of the ava i lab le resource • r i sk -averse app roach to sus ta inab le forestry • suppor ts regulat ion wh ich protects the env i ronment • p laces priority on local e c o n o m i c act ivi t ies • hires local ly • dea ls with local sma l l f i rms • be l ieves that local dec i s ions will reflect best use of the resource • is involved in local p lanning • equ ipment is env i ronmenta l ly -sens i t i ve and low-impact • e m p h a s i s is on lifestyle rather than profits • labour- in tensive prac t ices are preferred • v a l u e - b a s e d product ion 2.4 Fieldwork Methods A listing of small forest operators registered in the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program, obtained from the Ministry of Forests in Victoria, was the starting point for my list of potential interviewees. Upon arrival in Smithers early in the summer of 19967, business directories, local yellow pages and the telephone directory were used to augment the listing of small forest operators. In May 1996 letters were sent to small forest operators in the Smithers area (Bulkley Forest District). Interviews with Ministry of Forests personnel provided information on types of forest operators and potential key informants from a Ministry perspective. As well, "word of mouth" in the environmental community provided 7 1996 was generally considered to have been a 'good year' in the forest industry. Soon after, the industry went into decline again with the 'Asian crisis' and the U.S-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement. 39 potential key informants from an environmentalist perspective. Once interviews began, "word of mouth" provided more potential key informants from a forest worker perspective. Through this combination of methods I selected a group of potential interviewees to represent a wide variety of types of business. Follow-up phone calls were made to set up interviews. In the Smithers area, interviews were completed within a month. In June 1996, a similar procedure took place for the Hazeltons (Kispiox FD). Interviews were completed in approximately three weeks, with some difficulty finding interviewees due to smaller number of small operators in this area. In July 1996 a similar procedure took place for the Burns Lake area (Lakes FD) and the Houston area (Morice FD). Interviews were easily arranged for the Lakes FD owing in part to a larger number of small operators in this area. It also seemed that this area has a heightened awareness of issues concerning small operators, and interviews were completed within two weeks. It was extremely difficult to arrange interviews in the Morice FD. This may be partially explained by the smaller number of small operators (similar to the Hazeltons), as well as timing in the season (the height of what little summer logging takes place). Subsequently, surveys were sent out to 35 small operators in the Morice FD, with a letter explaining my difficulties in arranging interviews, asking operators to respond by mail, or to call for me to pick up surveys. There were three responses to this approach. In late July, I arranged with a key informant in Granisle, near Houston, to have surveys distributed to small operators in the area. Fifteen surveys were sent out with a zero response rate. Ultimately I resigned myself to a reduced input from Houston. Having discussed this issue with other researchers and Ministry of Forests personnel I have discovered that this lack of participation is not uncommon in Houston. 40 C o m m u n i t y Number of Interviewees The Hazeltons Smithers and area Burns Lake and area Houston and area 17 22 23 6 Contrary to my expectation of interviewing in an office environment, interviews usually took place in the interviewee's home, at his or her request. Occasionally they took place in a restaurant. The interviews followed a fairly structured questionnaire. However, I also allowed flexibility for diversions and unanticipated issues - which happened a lot. The interviews were 'semi-ethnographic'. Interviews were either taped and later transcribed, or I took notes during and after the interview (depending upon location of the interview and comfort level of the interviewee). Many interviews were well over two hours long. While I had hoped that business owners might begrudgingly allow me a half-hour of their time, the greater difficulty for me proved to be limiting the length of the interview - the "man of few words" stereotype does not apply to this group! Only two interviews were completed within the half-hour I had predicted interviews would take. 69 small forest operators were interviewed in total. One interview was later rejected, as the man was involved primarily in lumber distribution rather than harvesting or manufacturing. Interviewees were generally keen to be involved in the research project, and the view was often expressed that 'no one has ever asked us for our opinion before'. The intent of the research was not to represent statistically the small forest operator, and I do not claim that the proportion of alternative operators I depict from my interview group is representative of the larger population of independent operators, even within the Bulkley Valley. While I ensured that the groups of interviewees from each community included a wide variety of perspectives (with the exception of Houston), it is possible that the people who were interested in being interviewed were more inclined to be advocates of 41 one perspective or another - more committed to involving themselves politically, more interested in discussing issues affecting them, and/or more disgruntled with the existing system. Interviews with other Key Informants I also spoke with the key informants who interact with and affect the small forest operators - Ministry of Forests personnel involved in the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program or the Land and Resource Management Plan, log purchasers in the major mills in each of the communities, economic development officers, and participants in local planning processes. These interviews were semi-structured, since in most cases I was simply trying to gain an understanding of that person's perspective on the small business forest sector in their area. Follow-up Meetings I attempted to incorporate a 'check' on the representativeness of my work by setting up a second opportunity to meet with research participants after my preliminary analysis of results. In February 1997 I conducted a series of evening meetings, one in each of the communities I have been researching, including Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, and Hazelton. The purpose of these meetings was to update interviewees as to my research progress, provide preliminary research results, and to provide an opportunity for them to comment on these results, or provide additional information they may have felt was lacking in my work. Letters were sent out approximately two weeks in advance of these meetings to interviewees and interested parties. However, only a handful of people showed up in each of Burns Lake, Hazelton and Smithers. No one at all showed in Houston. In spite of the low attendance, some useful feedback was received, and participants felt that my results to date were a reasonable reflection of the small business forest sector in the area. As a research note, I think it is important that this method was attempted, i.e. to try to allow 42 for a feedback mechanism during the research process rather than as an add-on at the end. Although interviewees had almost unanimously expressed interest in attending these meetings at the time of our interviews last summer, that interest apparently waned considerably over the course of time. A firm commitment at the time of the first interview might have been more fruitful; however, it may also have limited the number of people willing to interview at all if they were told that future time commitments were required. 2.5 Data Analysis Upon completion of the interviews, the taped interviews were transcribed and all responses were entered in tabular form into a Microsoft Access database. In cases where the interview included additional topics beyond those outlined by my questionnaire, this material was entered into Word documents directly. Responses were organized according to response type. Questions that used ordinal response categories (Likert scaling) were coded and entered directly into SPSS in numeric form. Open-ended questions with longer responses were coded manually after several readings of the interviews in which key themes were identified and refined. Within the Access database, I created a number of linked tables so I could cross-reference various types of information, such as "demographic information" with "business overview" or "environmental attitudes". The ability to create "queries" within Access made it possible to quickly investigate themes which appeared to be emerging as I re-read interview material. For example, if it seemed from re-reading the interview material that horse loggers tended to support the Forest Practices Code 8 more than conventional loggers, I could quickly generate a query to support or negate my initial conjecture. This was a very The Forest Practices Code is a comprehensive set of forest regulations introduced by the B C government in 1994. It is discussed in Chapter Four. 43 useful tool, as I could 'play' with endless variations on the data until I was satisfied that I had captured the most interesting and informative relationships. Once I had determined, through this iterative coding procedure, the most relevant themes, I attached a number to each key theme for each question. Coded responses were then entered into SPSS in numeric form. Once all data were entered into SPSS, tests of significance were performed between the two subgroups "Alternative" and "Conventional". The level of significance for all tests was 0.05. The statistical tests are discussed as relevant in Chapter Six where the comparisons between the two sub-groups of 'alternative' and 'conventional' operators are summarized and described. 44 3 REWORKING BRITISH COLUMBIA 'S FOREST ECONOMIES 3.1 Introduction W h a t if the e c o n o m y were not s ing le but plural , not h o m o g e n e o u s but he te rogeneous , not unif ied but f ragmented ( G i b s o n - G r a h a m 1996 :260)? This chapter describes the theoretical themes which inform the dissertation. There are three main sections, although these necessarily overlap somewhat. The first section investigates the economic geography literature which deconstructs hegemonic and singular texts of 'the economy'. This literature suggests that entities that seem to be entirely material, such as the economy, are also discursive constructs. I use this idea to understand the development and recent events in the forest industry in British Columbia. I argue that discourses have literally created the British Columbia forest industry9. There is no fixed truth revealed in these discourses. Rather they are necessarily partial and incomplete. Acknowledging that the hegemonic account of the forest industry is one partial and incomplete story opens up the possibility of other stories that might be told as well. The second section of the chapter discusses the metaphor of 'the center and the margin'. Small business is situated in the margins of the corporate forest industry; the hinterland is marginal to the heartland by which it is defined. Feminist and post-colonial interpretations of processes of marginalization provide insights into understanding this economic marginalization of these 'other' places and business practices. In the third section, I introduce the concept of multiple class processes as articulated by Fradd, Resnick and Wolff (1994) and Gibson-Graham (1996). I argue that multiple class processes are a way of conceptualizing movement between centre and margin which destabilizes the fixed boundaries between them, without requiring the completely fluid 45 restlessness demanded by some post-structuralists. I use this concept of multiple class processes in Chapter Eight as an entry point into an exploration of the subjectivity of some of the small forest operators I interviewed. Revealing varied and contradictory small forest operators' identities through an entry point of class disrupts the duality of either conventional (centre) or alternative (margins). A rich diversity of forest economies can be imagined instead. McDowell and Court (1994:728) claim that "the idea that reality is fictitious or that the fictitious is real is not yet a common notion within economic geography, where feminist and other 'critical' approaches have tended to remain within the discursive and theoretical constraints of the mainstream subject." Likewise, Amariglio and Ruccio (1994:7) claim that " remains the case that the challenges unleashed by postmodernism to the unified, rational subject, of all forms of determinism, and to traditional epistemology have hardly been met, let alone negated, in the field of economics." In recent years there has been an increase in work within economic geography which incorporates postmodern concerns with discourse and the power of knowledge. Trevor Barnes notes in Progress in Human Geography, that "...the movement in political economy over the last decade has been towards some poststructural perspective that emphasizes in one way or another power, discourse, culture and institutions" (Barnes:1995:427). Nonetheless, I have found it helpful at times to incorporate work from beyond the discipline of economic geography, particularly in the section where I discuss the metaphor of centre and margin. 3.2 Reading the Forest Industry as a Text The emerging 'new philosophy of economics' - Barnes (1996c) calls it ""post"-prefixed economic geography" - recognizes the "discursive elements of the production of 9 I use the popular phrase 'the British Columbia forest industry', to indicate when I am referring to the dominant account of the British Columbia forest economy. When referring to the totality of economic activity relating to 46 economic theories and the social conditions implied in "reading" economic writings" (Amariglio and Ruccio 1994:8). In other words, theories are produced and productive (of one effect and not another), not merely reflective. For example, Innisian staples theory does not merely describe the hinterland as something 'out there', it participates in its creation. Increasingly, geog raphe rs recogn ize that theor ies t h e m s e l v e s a re ' texts' or narrat ives that tell a s ing le a n d part icular story, and not others that might have b e e n to ld . . . T h e s e scho la r s point out the a b s e n c e of certain vo i ces in geog raph i c narrat ives - in the ma in , t hose of the power less a n d d i s p o s s e s s e d - argu ing aga ins t convent iona l scient i f ic me thods that a s s u m e a c o r r e s p o n d e n c e be tween 'reality' a n d its representat ion by geog raphe rs , the i dea that m a p s and texts m a k e t ransparent a s ingular mean ing for the reader . (McDowe l l 1995:125) Geographers such as McDowell reject the notion that theory can be held up like a mirror to reflect reality, or that the purpose of academic pursuits is to bring theory and reality closer together. Rather, a post-structuralist approach to theories understands them as discourses, which, while appearing complete, natural and self-evident, delineate only one reading of facts, and preclude other readings. In the current era of the British Columbia forest industry, for example, the same events are filtered through two different discourses, Canadian political economy and alternative forestry, producing very different interpretations. Yet these discourses appear natural, obvious and self-evident to those steeped within them. 3.2.1 Economic Discourse and the Discourse of 'the Economy' This section summarizes Gibson-Graham's (1996) argument that economic discourse creates a totalizing representation of capitalism as the economy. She 1 0 deconstructs this discourse to reveal openings and cracks, which make it possible to imagine economies other than capitalism. In Chapter Four I continue this approach of deconstructing apparently cohesive economic systems to reveal the possibility of multiple the forest, not all of which is represented in 'the British Columbia forest industry', I use the phrase 'British Columbia forest economies'. 1 0 Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson are two economic geographers who wrote The End of Capitalism as one persona to reflect and celebrate a research methodology which seeks, in part, to disrupt hierarchical structures. 47 economic forms, deconstructing accounts of the hegemony of 'the British Columbia forest industry' to expose them as texts rather than as a reflection of a reality 'out there'. If the British Columbia forest industry is understood as one story of the forest economy, there is room for other stories as well. Chapter four continues this 'storytelling' by presenting two theories which attempt to explain the development and current state of the British Columbia forest industry. I use my experience with small forest operators, summarized in Chapter Six, to counter the representations of small business and the hinterland found in these theories, and in Chapters Six and Seven I provide different readings - different stories - of small business and the hinterland. Gibson-Graham argues that neoliberal and Marxist economists alike use an economic discourse which paints a picture of the economy in which capitalism /sthe economy. In these literatures, capitalism is depicted as total and totalizing, penetrative, annihilating. Alternatives to capitalism are weak and incapable of overcoming the totality of the capitalist economy. The discourse of capitalism contributes to the containment of efforts to resist or overcome capitalism - actually creating the globalizing hegemony with which we are now so familiar. Ironically, proponents of Marxist and other alternative development strategies contribute to the hegemonic position of capitalism through their discursive constructions of capitalism as the singular, powerful, inevitable economy, even as they seek to overcome it. For no matter how diverse we might be, how essentialist or antiessentialist, how concerned with equality or with difference, how modernist or postmodernist, most of us somewhere acknowledge that we live within something large that shows us to be small - a Capitalism (whether global or national) in the face of which all our transformative acts are ultimately inconsequential. (Gibson-Graham 1993:12) Capitalism is represented in a number of ways in theory and society. It appears as a 'hero', as "the bearer of the future, of modernity, of universality", liberating humanity from the struggle with nature. It is a unified system, "bounded", vitalized by "growth", governed 48 by a "telos of reproduction". It is "a worldwide axiomatic" (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:453), engaged in "the relentless saturation of any remaining voids and empty places" (Jameson 1991:412); all cited in Gibson-Graham [1996:7]. Gibson-Graham argues that as a result of this discourse of capitalism, "complexly generated social processes of commodification, urbanization, internationalization, proletarianization are viewed as aspects of capitalism's self-realization" (Gibson-Graham 1996:8). In other words, capitalism is inevitable and natural; it is "the everything everywhere of contemporary cultural representation" (ibid. p.9). Capitalism is represented as inherently spatial and as naturally stronger than the forms of noncapitalist economy...because of its presumed capacity to universalize the market for capitalist commodities" (ibid. p.125). Noncapitalist forms of economy, on the other hand, "...despite their ostensible variety, ...often present themselves as a homogeneous insufficiency rather than as positive and differentiated others" (ibid. p.7). If non-capitalist economic systems are discussed at all, these "other forms of economy (not to mention noneconomic aspects of social life) are often understood primarily with reference to capitalism" (ibid. p. 6). Noncapitalist economic practices are represented as an insufficiency, as lacking in what capitalism is. As Gibson-Graham describes it, capitalism/non-capitalism is a binary structure "in which the first term is constituted as positivity and fullness and the second term as negativity or lack" (ibid.). A consequence of this discourse of a hegemonic capitalism is that economic difference is devalued and subordinated. ...[A]s a constituent and as an effect of capitalist hegemony, we encounter the general suppression and negation of economic difference; and in representations of noncapitalist forms of economy, we have found a set of subordinated and devalued states of being. What is generally visible in these representations is the insufficiency of noncapitalist economic practices in constituting a complex economy and determining capitalism's specific forms of existence, (ibid, p.13) 49 The apparent insufficiency of alternative and/or oppositional development possibilities is a product of economic discourse in the current era, of apparently singular and totalizing capitalism. Gibson-Graham argues that the ways in which capitalism is described in the academic and popular literatures ascribes a particular fixed meaning to it - as the hegemonic, total, natural and inevitable economic system. Gibson-Graham seeks to break apart the commonplace assumption that discussions of the economic are referring to capitalism. This process of deconstructing economic discourse, far from being simply destructive, enables new possibilities - not just one but many. Bruce Willems-Braun (1996:27-28) explains that [fjor S p i v a k (1990), the role of the critic is to read strategical ly, pay ing attention to prec ise ly that wh ich disrupts c losu re . T h e goa l of cr i t ic ism is thus not to rep lace one or thodoxy with a new one , but to identify the play of a b s e n c e a n d p r e s e n c e , to locate the drawing of boundar ies and the ' f ixing' of identit ies. W h a t deconst ruc t ion offers is not a new 'map ' , but rather 'open ings ' by wh ich to imag ine other poss ib le conf igurat ions. It is in this identifying of 'the play of absence and presence' that I wish to deconstruct the British Columbia forest industry, and reveal diverse forest economies, not just one. This resulting mix of economic practices should be viewed as openings in the forest economy -possibilities for a new understanding of capitalist and noncapitalist activities in the hinterland forest, and beyond. Gibson-Graham deconstructs texts describing changes in late twentieth century capitalism to reveal their inadequacies and contradictions. In particular she undermines capitalism's seeming monolithic and homogenous nature, exposing cracks wherein one might discover the existence of, or opportunity for, new capitalist and non-capitalist practices. The economy is then seen as a "functioning disunity" rather than a unitary singular capitalist project. It is no longer "the Economic System", but rather a wide range of systems, interactions, situations, none of which is static. 50 The political power produced by stripping capitalism of its obvious and natural hegemony lies in the shift from a unitary singular articulation of 'the economy' (and the society 'dependent' upon it) to the possibility of multiple economies and societies. "Representations of society and economy cannot themselves be centered on a decentered and formless entity that is itself always different from itself, and that obtains its shifting and contradictory identity from the always changing exteriors that overdetermine it" (Gibson-Graham 1996). Decentered, shifting, contradictory identities are important themes within a 'post-prefixed economic geography', which are explored in section 3.3. 3.2.2 The Story of the British Columbia forest industry The British Columbia forest industry is typically presented in terms similar to, and as part of, the totalizing capitalism described by Gibson-Graham. In Canadian political economy, there is a sense of progress in the forest industry "...which begins with competitive capitalism and moves gradually through phases of greater concentration to monopoly capitalism. In the process, independent commodity producers (the traditional petty bourgeois class) are eliminated as large corporations overtake them and transform them along with the rest of the population into wage workers..."(Marchak 1985:684). This inevitable move toward monopoly capitalism means that "...high capacity mills have come to dominate British Columbia's rural landscape..." (Burda et al. 1998:47). There seems to be no escape from a system in which forestry corporations overtake, transform and dominate.11 Small business in forestry, particularly what is now advocated as alternative forestry or ecoforestry, is positioned as 'other' to corporate forestry through discursive practices in which small business - the 'little guy' of the forest industry - is diminished and dismissed, even through claims about its important contribution to the industry (see, for example, the 1 1 The idea of a relatively few mills dominating the entire rural landscape of British Columbia is absurd if one thinks of it literally, yet it is highly effective imagery to convey the overwhelming and inescapable power of forest corporations. 51 discussion in Chapter Four of Royal Commissioner Sloan's treatment of "...the so-called "small man"..."). While small business is easily understood by references to numbers of employees, or amounts of revenue, or volume of shipments, it is also identified through images of 'the small man' with their connotations of a less-than-adequate masculinity. Real men are part of corporate forestry. Real firms are part of corporate forestry - part of the central story of the forest industry. Small firms are necessarily on the margin of this account. The 'little guy' image of small forest operators, and the 'underdeveloped hinterland' in which he resides, are essentialized representations of the people and places of the forest economy. They are essentialist in that the complexities and differences between people and places are reduced to simpler, fundamental 'truths' about these realities. Sloan (1956:14), for example, claims that the 'small man' is interested "...primarily in conducting a profitable operation within the span of his own expectancy," and, based on this self-evident 'truth', concludes that large corporations will be better stewards of the forest resource under a sustained yield policy. Essentialist representations of 'the forest industry', 'the hinterland', 'forest-dependent communities' and 'forest workers', permeate the forestry literature, and will be explored in Chapter Seven. These essentialist representations are caught up in the material business and social practices of those involved in the forest industry. Pulling apart the neat and tidy story of 'the British Columbia forest economy', exposing the loose ends, holes and openings contained in the dominant account of the British Columbia forest economy, opens up space for other stories to be heard (cf. Gibson-Graham 1996). Some of these are the stories I heard while interviewing small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley which I present in later chapters. Writing these lesser known stories does not in itself overturn the present reality of a forest industry dominated by a handful of corporate interests, nor the uncertain future of forest workers employed by these 52 corporations. However, it does challenge the notion of the inevitability of capitalist development that suffocates attempts to provide alternative economic development trajectories. It seems important to recognize that these other stories are taking place now, concurrent with the dominant story of 'the British Columbia forest economy' rather than describing them as harbingers of Utopian alternative development schemas, as is done in the alternative forestry literature. 3.3 Centres and Margins in Economic Geography Although core/periphery concepts have been used literally in economic geography for over fifty years, 'centre and margin' has recently become a prominent metaphor in feminist and post-structuralist theory, and has been applied to economic geography research as well. In Gibson-Graham's (1996) discussion of the economy, capitalism is depicted to fill the centre, with non-capitalism ever and always situated at the margin. Capitalism/noncapitalism can be seen as an "A/not-A dichotomy" (Massey 1994:256, citing Jay 1981) of centre and margin, which is also expressed in Male/female, White/nonwhite, Straight/queer social relations. There are parallels between the use of Heartland/hinterland in Canadian political economy, and the centre/margin metaphor. For these reasons, I explore in this section, some of the ways in which centre and margin have been used by feminists and post-structuralists. I argue that essentialism is a problem in some feminists' approaches to the production of marginality, and that because of this there are limits to the usefulness of the metaphor of centre and margin. A number of writers suggest movement between centre and margin as a way of understanding identity in nonessentialist terms. In section 3.4,1 describe multiple class processes as an entry point into discussions of subjectivity, which recognizes movement, while also recognizing the situatedness of subjectivity in place and time. 53 3.3.1 Centre and Margin The idea of centre and margin can be understood as part of what Steven Pile calls 'dualistic epistemologies'. "Under the regime of dualistic epistemologies, class is "working class and bourgeois", gender is "man and woman", sexuality is "straight and gay," and race is "black and white"; these categories are socially created, and they serve to maintain those categories as legitimate (Pile 1994:267)." Feminist critiques of western dualisms argue that the relentless categorization of knowledge into dualities, into either/or's, this or that's, began with Kant's splitting of the human subject into Reason and Emotion. From this, particular forms of knowing came to be valued, and associated with the masculine. Time, reason, mind became associated with male, while space, emotion and body became associated with female. As Gillian Rose has pointed out, " is no bizarre metaphorical accident that it is Mother Earth and Father Time" (Rose 1993, cited in Pile 1994:259). Pile notes further that the use of this particular dualism normalizes certain aspects of the masculine experience, "...for example, in male, white, middle-class, heterosexual, able-bodied, articulate, clean, disciplined bodies" (Pile 1994:259).12 Audrey Kobayashi (1994:227) argues that Dualistic thinking organizes the world according to oppositional categories -man/nature; culture/nature; man/woman; state/civil society; theory/practice; black/white - that order our existence. Such categories are more than a means of imposing intellectual order; they also exert and maintain political power and they almost always involve the privileging of one over the other (Collins, 1990, p.225). The metaphors of enlightenment dualism have proved amazingly durable and powerful in influencing subsequent thought and in the construction of racist and sexist social relations that characterise modernity. Indeed, these dualisms have become so naturalized in everyday thought, language and actions that it is difficult to transform their metaphysical heritage in changing human relations. 1 2 This is an absurdly brief outline of a sophisticated argument. This is not the place for a detailed history of the construction of masculinity and femininity. What I take from these feminist critiques is the longstanding tendency to 'other', and the power relations caught up in the production of gender. 54 In geography, Pile argues, dualistic epistemologies allow geographers "...not only to position themselves on the side of Reason and to value their experience, but also to strip others of the capacity of understanding and to marginalize or overlook their experiences, as feminist geographers have long pointed out for women. ...This kind of positioning also distances "them" (there) from "us" (here), and allows us to actually see them as them" (ibid, p. 260). In British Columbia, this positioning of knowledge is spatialized through the heartland/hinterland metaphor; "them" (there) are in the hinterland, doing manual labour, while "us" (here) are at the academy, or government, or corporate headquarters in Vancouver or Victoria13. Marginalization of them (there) is viewed as the inevitable and obvious result of economic and social processes. Resource communities are repeatedly written into the margins of British Columbia's economy and society; yet this process is rarely questioned, and is often presented as a 'natural' outcome of economic processes - in many ways similar to the 'natural' marginalization of women or people of colour. Further marginalization occurs in the very attempt to bring marginalized people closer to the centre. Connelly (1996), in his discussion of 'standpoint epistemology and the politics of identity', describes 1980s research on race relations in which the black community was considered by mainstream (white, male) academics as 'the problem'. Explanations of 'the problem' tended therefore to be in terms of deviance from white middle-class norms. In a similar fashion, as described in Chapter Seven, explanation of the 'problem' of hinterland resource communities tends to be explained, by heartland academics, in terms of their deviance from the norms of heartland centres. 1 3 Victoria is the political capital of British Columbia, while Vancouver is the economic capital of the province. Located in the southwest comer of the province, they form the 'heartland' of the province in Canadian political economy, and are popularly and theoretically recognized as such. 55 Economic processes do not just 'happen' to affect different people differently, nor does economic theory merely reflect pre-existing sexist and racist structures. Rather it is actively engaged in their construction. As Derek Gregory (1997) has noted with regard to post-colonialism, "it is the very production of the categories of the normal and the marginal -center and periphery - that needs to be called to account." Similarly, the ways in which the centre and periphery of the British Columbia forest economy are produced in and through Canadian political economy need to be examined; these are the focus of Chapter Seven. McDowell (1995) argues that the significance of gender is "...assumed rather than investigated and unpacked, and so women's inferiority is taken for granted and, more significantly, seems inescapable" (McDowell 1995:156). Feminist geographers reveal openings and opportunities for resistance through this 'unpacking' of taken-for-granted constructions such as gender or race. Through stories of women's experience as other to men, people of colour as other to whites, and homosexuals' as other to heterosexuals, the categories of normal and marginal have been chipped away by social theorists. McDowell argues: "if gender is defined not as a fixed or stable category but as a construct congruent with the discourses and practices of particular locations, then it becomes possible to examine not only the ways in which particular heterosexual performances become hegemonic but also the prospects of resistance" (ibid.). Gibson-Graham (1996) makes a parallel argument with respect to economic identities - that destabilising capitalism as a hegemonic, holistic system perforates its smooth surface, revealing opportunities for new ways of 'doing economies'. Likewise, if the marginal position of hinterland forest workers is not seen to be fixed, but is recognized as a construct resulting from a particular discourse as well as the material practices of corporate forestry, then it becomes possible to conceive of, and recognize other constructs and subject positions. 56 The distinctive and different experiences of women relative to men, of disabled relative to abled people, queer relative to straight, colored relative to white, undermine the notion of a single norm or universal. Capitalism has become the economic 'norm'. Other economic forms, such as feudal, communal, or independent classes are subsumed under the umbrella of capitalism. That is, rather than being recognized for what they are - distinct and different - they are made invisible by being reduced to a single, homogeneous system, capitalism. Using hinterland small business as an entry point into an analysis of the forest industry enables me (requires me) to break apart the dichotomy of corporate (centre) and hinterland small forest operators (margin). It also enables me to break apart the spatial centre and margin - heartland and hinterland - of staples discourse. By writing (about) small business in forestry, I contribute to the growing literature within economic geography that recognizes that so-called universals are not necessarily or inevitably so. Exposing the ruptures and cracks of universals such as capitalism reveals and destabilizes the exclusionary power of categories such as 'the norm', creating awareness of, and openings for, alternative economies. 3.3.2 Essential ism in the Margins The awareness of processes of marginalization, and the construction of categories such as gender, race, sexuality and class, has introduced a new form of essentialism - the essentializing of the margin itself. For the academic writing about difference, attempts to give voice to 'the margins' raises all sorts of ethical and methodological questions. Perhaps most problematic of all, is the difficulty in speaking about the 'othering' of marginalized groups in society, without reinforcing that very process of othering. This problem has been raised by a number of feminists regarding 'identity studies', and by Gibson-Graham in relation to economic, 57 particularly Marxist, discourse. Chouinard and Grant (1995:138) claim that "(o)ne key feature [of what they call 'The Project' - that is, feminist and critical geography] is an emphasis on processes of oppression rooted in three sets of relations: class, gender and race. In conference sessions we hear this "trinity" so often it has almost become a group chant...." Their point is that " some ways 'The Project" is as partial and exclusionary as those that have gone before." McDowell cautions that some feminists have inadvertently contributed to an essentialized 'othering' of women through their insistence on describing women as always the Other. She accuses gender theorists such as Iris Young of "bodily essentialism", arguing that " taking for granted'women's singularity as the embodied 'Other', rather paradoxically Young [has] reinforced it in her attempt to establish a version of justice based on group membership" (McDowell 1997:164). For example, Kim England writes "feminism and poststructuralism have opened up geography to voices other than those of white, Western, middle-class, heterosexual men. This allows for a geography which, as Lowe and Short put it, 'neither dismisses nor denies structural factors, but allows a range of voices to speak..."(England 1997:70, emphasis mine). England, as well as Lowe and Short (1990), imply that white, Western, middle-class, heterosexual men speak with one voice, and that it is the role of feminists and poststructuralists to open geography up to other voices. While efforts to open up geography to other voices is desirable, the inadvertent consequence of England's approach is the maintenance of the hegemonic gender category of "male"; an approach which continues to position these other voices as weak and tentative. Alternatively, a range of gender constructions can be articulated which destabilize both "male" and "female" constructions. 58 Chouinard and Grant illustrate the exclusions of 'the Project' through a discussion of their own experiences as (for one) a lesbian and (for the other) a physically disabled person. They draw on their own subjectivities to understand better marginality: F r o m these van tage points, it b e c o m e s c lear that it is high t ime for all geog raphe rs to do what they c a n to ensu re that "other" vo i ces a n d pract ices are taken ser ious ly in s t rugg les to reconstruct "the Project." T h i s d o e s not m e a n s imp ly t inker ing with theor ies a n d me thods s o that lesb ians and d i sab led w o m e n b e c o m e another "topic" or "viewpoint;" it m e a n s drawing on t hese van tage points in revolut ionary w a y s wh ich cha l l enge and disrupt our unders tand ing of p r o c e s s e s of exploi tat ion a n d o p p r e s s i o n . . . . It m e a n s not be ing content with representat ions of inc lus ion, but insist ing that the vo i ce a n d p r e s e n c e of "others" in the resea rch p r o c e s s is an essen t ia l part of the st ruggle for soc ia l c h a n g e . (Chou ina rd a n d Gran t 1995:138) I take from their work the importance of understanding processes of exploitation and oppression. But ultimately Chouinard and Grant succumb to an essentializing discourse of power structures in society as they develop their argument: A sensit iv i ty to the p lace-speci f ic i ty of p r o c e s s e s of opp ress ion a n d res is tance , a n d to the play of d i f ferences within those p laces , permits soph is t i ca ted exp lana t ions of the politics of creating and recreating "otherness," of how "micro" p r o c e s s e s of power and opp ress ion fit within the big picture of soc ie t ies dr iven by enduring c lass is t , racist, sex is t , heterosex is t , ableist and ageist power relat ions or s t ructures, (ibid, p .160, m y emphas i s ) They maintain a discourse of stifling, overpowering, oppression of difference by 'the centre'. If these structures are enduring, how can we ever how to break them apart? This discursive reluctance to break apart the duality of oppressed and oppressor -whether regarding economic entities or individuals' subjectivity - stifles possibilities for social change. If in the end the (white, straight, male) bourgeoisie is ever and always the oppressor, then we cannot move beyond the 'group chant' described by Chouinard and Grant. There is a danger that the celebration of difference will only reinforce and even venerate marginalization. While it is readily accepted in the "post-prefixed" literature that identities are social constructions, and that 'gender' or 'race' should not be essentialized, categories of oppressed and oppressor too often remain fixed. For example, Pam Moss (1995:83) writes 59 "[difference embodies oppressive and exploitative relations and the experiences of the processes of marginalization." If difference is always equated with 'the marginal' and 'the oppressed', oppression and exploitation of difference continue to be 'natural'. 'Different' voices will only be included as 'others', that is, always on the margin. Furthermore, the implication that experiences of oppression can be mapped on to categories of gender or race is misguided. To illustrate this point, Pratt (1997:171) retells an anecdote told by Spivak (1989) about an upper-class African gay man admired at a party for his 'roots', who unsettles his admirers by listing, among his ancestors, a slave trader. Spivak concludes, "Collaboration with the enemy does not depend on the color of your skin or on your gender." And Pratt adds, "Spivak's point is that we all collaborate with some enemies and that the points of difference are situated within nets of interwoven similarities and shared complicities." Small forest operators may or may not be exploited by corporate forestry, may or may not exploit their own workers, may or may not oppress or be oppressed through racism or sexism. Their marginality and centrality will shift about, depending upon the particularities of the issue at hand. Movement has been proposed by writers such as Pratt and Spivak as a way of understanding subjectivity while rejecting the rigid duality of 'centre/margin'. In the next section, I discuss movement as a metaphor for the political resistance to fixed identities, arguing that it is useful in the abstract, but often limited by its failure to acknowledge the rootedness of economic and social life. In the final section, I turn to the concept of multiple class processes as an alternative approach, which I argue, enables movement but also recognizes the importance of fixing reference points of identity. It is through these fixed reference points that possibilities of solidarity arise. 60 3.3.3 Movement as a Non-essentializing Metaphor If difference is to be celebrated, rather than marginalized, subjectivity must be understood in a way which does not require an essentialized centre. If being not-White is what gives identity to an 'other voice', the category White must be maintained in order for that voice to be maintained as not-White - this is paralyzing. In this section, I explore ways of writing about subjectivity which does not require a centre. In Chapter Eight this discussion will be extended to writing about the economic positions of forest workers in the hinterland in a way that does not require an oppositional relationship with the centre - the corporate heartland. Writers such as Pratt and Hanson (1994), Massey (1994), Spivak (1988) or Gibson-Graham (1996), who seek a nonessentialist understanding of subjectivity, find movement useful as a metaphor. "Movement and mobility have been important tropes in the rethinking of feminist subjectivity, based on the idea that a subject constantly on the move would be more aware of its instability and exclusions" (Dowling 1995:25). Hanson and Pratt (1995) develop 'mobility stories' out of "the idea of a continuous shuttle between center and margins" used by feminist theorists such as Trinh Minh-ha. Trinh argues that "movement and exile are metaphors that articulate an attempt continuously to displace boundaries between center and margins, thereby displacing controlling reference points" (cited in Hanson and Pratt 1995:19). Movement, according to Hanson and Pratt (1995:20), is useful as a metaphor because "we can destabilize unexamined dualisms and boundaries as we begin to see the inherent connections between inside/outside, center/margins, same/other." Massey (1994:11) agrees: "one gender-disturbing message might be - in terms of both identity and space - keep moving!" Likewise, Spivak (1990:37, cited in Pratt 1997:169) says "as far as I can tell one is always on the run, and it seems I haven't really had a home 61 base - and this may have been good for me. I think it's important for people not to feel rooted in one place." The image of subjectivities in flux, unconstrained, fluid, open to every possibility, holds considerable appeal. However, I anticipate three problems with the current emphasis on mobility, at least with respect to my study of small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley. First, and this is recognised by Hanson and Pratt, a celebration of movement may overlook the reality that many people's lives, (and from the perspective of their study of women and work patterns in Worchester, MA, perhaps more so for women) are very local. Local processes of identity construction need to be better understood. Pratt and Hanson (1994:9) caution that "an overvaluation of fluidity as a subject position may lead away from a careful consideration of the processes through which identities are created and fixed in place." Second, the focus on movement may destabilise constructed representations of 'the Other', but, will not likely impact on the hegemonic construction of the White Heterosexual Male. This metaphor of movement between center and margins implicitly maintains the binary structure - after all, it will be the other doing all the (tiresome) moving. Third, the metaphor of movement and fluidity seems particularly contentious with respect to small forest operators of the Bulkley Valley. As the review of Canadian political economy reveals in Chapter Five, the literature on 'resource dependency' and 'resource communities' tends to emphasize the transient 'nature' of resource workers. Suggesting movement here, metaphorically or otherwise, does not seem appropriate. There is a certain irony in this recent celebration of the metaphor of movement as a means of resisting the fixing of identity. Forest workers in the hinterland are described in the literature as mobile and transient, and therefore less capable as resource managers, less concerned with environment or community - geographically mobile but socially fixed. Resource 62 communities are likewise contrasted with the 'rural idyll' community type (suggested to be found in farming communities, for example), and found lacking. Many feminists reject the 'rural idyll' as an essentialized construction of a world which can be stifling. Some have turned to the city to explore in situ mobility of subjectivity as a site of freedom to explore new identities. Writers such as hooks, Young, and Chambers recognise the limits to movement (hooks 1992), and look to the contemporary city as a place in which subjectivity is neither fixed nor stable, where one is made aware of the limits of subjectivity (Chambers 1994), but where one may, if one chooses, build relationships on affinity (Young 1992). Dowling (1995:28) is critical of this work which focuses on the city for failing to acknowledge that "relations to place are also socially constructed." Pratt and Hanson (1994:9) also recognize limits to this valorization of the city. They write that ", place and difference are intertwined in at least three ways. First, the city has been taken as a prototype of communities based on affinity rather than identity. Second, the constitution of difference is not only a social but also a spatial process and varying systems of difference operate in different places; this forces the recognition that differences are constructed. Third, the physical act of displacement can open up a moment of awareness of difference from others; it can prompt a reversal of 'centre' and 'margins'." Nonetheless the idea, best exemplified by Young (1990) that the city offers the best potential for enjoying difference 'at a distance', respectfully, "without the pretence of empathy or any real mutual understanding (Pratt and Hanson 1994:7)" may be a reaction to essentialized readings of the 'rural idyll'. Replacing an essentialized reading of the rural idyll with an essentialized reading of the affinity-based urban parade does not bring us any closer to an understanding of difference and identity in place, neither does competing to find the 'best place to be different'. The rural idyll need not be the only reading of community life outside of the city. Displacement - movement - may prompt a reversal of 'centre' and 63 'margins' - but 'centre and margin' remain. There has been no acknowledgement of the contradictoriness of subject positions, and 'oppressor' and 'oppressed' remain fixed as categories. 3.4 Multiple Class Processes (and Other Sticky Situations) 3.4.1 Grounding Movement We cannot capture identity in motion; the best we can do is to glean 'snapshots' which are necessarily incomplete. A number of theorists have proposed alternative means to access knowledge of the subject, which, while rejecting the "seemingly rigid discursive practices exhibited by dualistic categories" (Pile 1994:257), are able nonetheless to capture the fluidity of identity. These alternative understandings build on the metaphor of centre and margin. What I take from a number of otherwise varied approaches is the recognition that identities, economic or otherwise, are never completely fluid; they get 'stuck' in places (Pratt and Hanson1994). Most people do rest, get rooted, and find a home base. Pratt and Hanson (1994:10) suggest that a focus in cultural studies on leisure may have influenced the prevalent focus on movement, nomadism and displacement. They point out that most lives are lived locally, suggesting limitations to movement as a metaphor for identity. Grounding identity in place is not the same as fixing it. Identity, whether economic or social, can and will change, creating different relationships, different contradictions and different material circumstances. But this change is not likely to occur at the breakneck speed suggested in some of the literature. In terms of the hinterland forest workers, this can be seen in the ways that 'common sense discourse' (Dunk 1994) replaces 'the staples discourse'. Common sense amongst Northern forest workers finds over-educated, urbanites lacking because they do not have manual skills or knowledge of 'the bush'. The hinterland thus becomes the centre, and heartlander values are marginalized; but centre and margin remain solidly in place. 64 Liz Bondi (1993:96) says, "singular, coherent identities are only ever mythical constructs." The British Columbia forest industry is presented in the literature as just such a singular and coherent identity - corporate, with professional and managerial activities centered in the heartland, exploiting the resources (including labour) of the hinterland. The two literatures informing the debate over the forest industry also contain singular representations of forestry-dependent communities and the forest workers' living. In these representations, forest workers and communities are constructed as insignificant, marginal and incapable of making change. Bondi recognizes that constructions of identity can be effective in perpetuating systems of domination and exploitation, and that some constructions of identity will be more politically significant than others. Understanding representations of forest workers and forest communities as mythical constructs with particular effects makes visible the role these constructs play in maintaining a system of corporate forestry. Singular identities remain caught up in exploitive social relations when they are left unchallenged, written into a discourse which constructs them as natural, obvious and unchanging. Feminists who refuse to accept the inevitability of marginality are useful for understanding this marginal position of the hinterland in the British Columbia forest industry, bell hooks, for example, sees the margin more as a place to build and create new and potentially revolutionary cultures, hooks (1990) argues that the margin allows a "space to imagine alternative ways of existing and the opportunity to create counter-hegemonic cultures" (cited in Pratt 1997:171). Parmar (1990), cited in Pile (1994:269), expresses "...her dissatisfaction with the center/margin dualism, which is often used to map relations between the same, or center, and the other or margin." In the case of British black women, she argues that these women need to develop their own identities, rather than accept the identity constructed for them by mainstream society. "Such a narrative thwarts that binary 65 hierarchy of centre and margin: the margin refuses its place as 'Other'" (Parmar, 1990:101, cited in Pile 1994:269). In my interviews with small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley, I sensed that many refused to take their position as 'Other'; their actions and their words belied a sense of marginality. Pile (1994:258) suggests, concerning the construction of knowledge and power within geography, that "...the abandonment of dualistic epistemologies offers the potential for different kinds of knowledge to become legitimate. Here, I develop one alternative geometry of knowledge - a third space, which is located in neither the center nor the margin. This is more than just an epistemological shift, it is about opening up the possibility of new oppositional languages..." Gibson-Graham suggests that third space may be a way of envisioning a new kind of economy in which there is a multiplicity of capitalisms and noncapitalisms. "If we are to take postmodern spatial becomings seriously then it would seem that we must claim chora, that space between the Being of present Capitalism and the Becoming of future capitalisms, as the place for the indeterminate potentiality of noncapitalisms" (Gibson-Graham 1996:90). She refers to Bhabha's third space, as well as the "thirdspace of political choice" depicted by Soja and Hooper (1993: 198-9), finding similarity between these and Rose's (1993) "paradoxical space" and deLauretis's "space-offs". Paradoxical space is, according to Rose, that space which is neither here nor there, neither centre nor margin, multidimensional and overlapping (described in Dowling 1995:29). But as Dowling notes in her discussion of paradoxical space, it is a difficult concept to work with empirically. Bhabha envisions third space as hybridity, as recognition of the individual's shifting positions in relation to 'others' as well as to sameness, "...the third space is a useful metaphor because it intertwines not only place, politics and hybrid identities, but also the 66 real, the imaginary and the symbolic; more than this, it refuses to settle down because it always implies that there are other third terms" (Bhabha 1994, cited in Pile 1994:272). Furthermore, Bhabha (1994) notes that "...the subject is not autonomous, she or he is continually positioned in relation to others" (ibid, p.270). Routledge (1996) also interprets Bhabha's work on 'third space' in his discussion of the possibilities for a third space of activism within the academy: This third space involves a simultaneous coming and going in a borderland zone between different modes of action. A prerequisite for this is that we must believe that we can inhabit these different sites, making each a space of relative comfort. To do so will require investing creative ways to cross perceived and real "borders". The third space is thus a place of invention and transformational encounters, a dynamic in-between space that is imbued with the traces, relays ambivalences, ambiguities and contradictions, with the feelings and practices of both sites, to fashion something different, unexpected. A third space holds considerable theoretical appeal as a nonessentializing approach to difference. In practical terms, however, it is challenging to describe 'third space identities'. The very act of writing about them fixes their identities. Positioning hinterland small forest operators is problematic. I wish to avoid simply replacing the representations of forest workers in Canadian political economy, or alternative forestry, with my own 'truth statements' about forest workers. Using multiple class processes, which emphasize relationality, material practices, and semi-fluidity, enables a nonessentialist exploration of economic difference and subjectivity. 3.4.2 Multiple class processes Multiple class processes break down the duality of centre and margin with the recognition that in some ways, at some time, we are all oppressed and oppressor, exploited and exploiter. Using multiple class processes as an entry point into subjectivity, while recognising that economic subjectivity is overdetermined by other social processes, is one way of addressing the contradictions and stickiness of identity while rejecting essentialized classed, gendered, or racialised positions. Gibson-Graham used this approach in 67 describing members of an Australian mining community. I discuss multiple class processes briefly in this section and return to apply this approach more fully in Chapter Eight after describing the case study results. Gibson-Graham presents an alternative conceptualization of class which, she argues, enables transformation without revolution. She uses the term 'class processes', which can be understood as taking place wherever work is performed which produces surplus value. Exploitation thus can occur in households, collectives, churches and so on, as well as capitalist firms. Gibson-Graham argues that using this understanding of class as a process of appropriation and distribution of surplus value enables differentiation of the various forms of class processes, thereby undermining the "presumptive or inherent dominance of capitalist class relations". Of interest for this dissertation, is her assertion that "economic sites that have usually been seen as homogeneously capitalist may be re-envisioned as sites of economic difference, where a variety of capitalist and noncapitalist class processes interact" (Gibson-Graham 1996:18). The small forest operators of the Bulkley Valley revealed a diversity of economic forms that is well suited to this type of analysis, as Chapter Eight will demonstrate. By focusing on the appropriation and redistribution of surplus value, wherever it occurs, Gibson-Graham is able to identify and address issues of concern to socialists, such as inequity and injustice, without having to force her analysis or her political program through the discourse and structures of 'the working class'. For example, in case studies of Australian coal mining towns, Gibson-Graham (1996) found a multiplicity of independent, feudal (domestic), communal, and capitalist class processes. In each case, economic identities are created based on economic and social roles; these identities are semi-fluid rather than static. 68 C l a s s p r o c e s s e s are overdetermined, that is, const i tuted at the intersect ion of all soc ia l d imens ions , and participating in their product ion a s wel l . "Th is mutual constitut ion of soc ia l p r o c e s s e s genera tes an unending s e q u e n c e of surpr ises and contradict ions. A s the term "p rocess " is intended to suggest , c l ass and other aspec t s of soc ie ty are s e e n a s exist ing in c h a n g e and a s continual ly undergoing novel and contradictory t ransformat ions" ( G i b s o n - G r a h a m 1996: 55). G i b s o n - G r a h a m is interested in the possibi l i ty of soc ia l t ransformat ion by rethinking c l ass : "If contradict ion and an tagon ism were s e e n a s generat ing instability in every form and be ing, c l ass t ransformat ion might be env is ioned a s a regular occu r rence and noncapital ist deve lopment cou ld b e c o m e a focus of the polit ics of every day" (ibid. p.161). My intent has similari t ies to her project, but a lso d i f ferences. I sha re her en thus iasm for the possibi l i t ies of t ransformat ion env is ioned a s a regular occu r rence , but a m interested more speci f ical ly in the ways in which rethinking the role of smal l forest operators in the forest industry may reveal , not only possibi l i t ies for noncapital ist e c o n o m i c deve lopment , but a lso for greater f reedom to explore nonessent ia l is t exp ress ions of subjectivity. That is, us ing overdetermined multiple c l a s s p r o c e s s e s prov ides me with a theoret ical m e a n s to explore the economic and social identit ies of smal l forest operators without replac ing h o m o g e n e o u s representat ions in the C a n a d i a n political economy and alternative forestry l i teratures with yet another essent ia l iz ing construct ion. 3.5 Conclusions In this chapter I have explored i ssues of economic identity and c l a s s within and outs ide capi ta l ism drawing on the paral lels between feminist, post-structural ist and post-modern explorat ions of the 'other' through the metaphor of centre and marg in . Wh i l e research by crit ical theorists on Brit ish b lack w o m e n or work ing w o m e n in Worches te r , M A , may s e e m to have little in c o m m o n with (the predominant ly white, male) smal l forest 69 operators in the Bulkley Valley, I believe that there are important lessons to be learned through these comparisons. Small forest operators are positioned in the two literatures as either a marginal part of the central (corporate British Columbia forest industry) economy, or at the centre of a marginal value-based alternative forest economy. There are essentially two subject positions to define small forest operators economically, socially and culturally. Like many feminists and post-colonialists who explore the 'margins' as a way of problematizing the 'truth statements' of the centre, I focus in this dissertation on the different practices which occur in the British Columbia forest industry. I use multiple class processes in Chapter Eight to explore a diversity of British Columbia forest economies. Using overdetermined multiple class processes as an exploration of subjectivity enables me to understand 'small business' as multiple capitalist and noncapitalist class processes, which constitute a decentered, shifting, economic d/sunity rather than the monolithic British Columbia forest industry presented in the literature. In the next chapter, I explore the discursive and material evolution of this 'British Columbia forest industry'. 70 4 CONSTRUCTING THE BRITISH COLUMBIA FOREST INDUSTRY 4.1 Introduction: An Industry in Transition It's almost like we're caught into where the big mills today, you know you can't stop them and you can't take any wood away from them, from that point of view they add stability, and the threat is there, if you take it away from us there'll be a whole bunch of people out of work, (small forest operator, fieldwork, Bulkley Valley, 1996) What makes a logging contractor believe that "you can't stop them and you can't take any wood away from them"? What did he hear or experience, and how often, to convince him that "you know you can't stop them?" In Chapter One, I referred to Bruno Latour's suggestion that "we look at the way in which someone convinces someone else to take up a statement, to pass it along, to make it more of a fact (Latour 1986:5, cited in Willems-Braun 1996:276). What convinced this logging contractor to take up this particular narrative of the forest industry, and pass it along? In this chapter I explore the narrative of the British Columbia forest industry - the historical development of corporate concentration - as it is commonly explained in the literature and understood by many British Columbians, particularly in resource communities. Gibson-Graham (1996:57) argues that "[s]ociety is typically theorized as a homogeneously or hegemonically capitalist formation centered on an industrial economy, with class theorized as a social relation originating in that center." This is the case in the British Columbia forest industry, with the dominant account of corporate forestry squeezing out possibilities of other forest economies. I argue that the discursive construction of the British Columbia forest industry as a hegemonic monolith makes it appear inevitable that corporations dominate the economic and cultural landscape of British Columbia, to the point where, as this small operator puts it, "it's almost like we're caught." In this chapter I outline the development of the British Columbia forest industry, as it is commonly understood and articulated in Canadian political economy, alternative forestry 71 and elsewhere. The recession of the early 1980s is widely recognized as a turning point in the British Columbia forest industry. While booms and busts had always been a familiar feature of the British Columbia forest industry, it became apparent by the mid-1980s that this bust was different. As Marchak (1995:87) writes: When the crash came in the early 1980s, the industry assured the population it was one of the cyclic downturns that were inevitable in a resource industry. When the downturn became a depression, the industry blamed labour costs and environmentalists. When, in the 1990s, the depression became a long-term condition, structural changes were undertaken, and finally there emerged some recognition that forestry as it had been practised in the profligate century was no longer profitable or possible. But it was not just the recession and the changing economic climate it heralded that were problematic for the forest industry. A tidal wave had been gradually building in British Columbia, with factors such as environmentalism, First Nations land claims, increasing scarcity of old growth forest, all playing a part. Over the last decade and a half British Columbia's forests have become an increasingly troubled landscape. Continual environmental protests, aboriginal blockades, reduced annual allowable cuts, sweeping technological change, deep lay offs, changing global markets, multinational takeovers, and single industry communities scrambling for survival, have all shaken the once entrenched faith in British Columbia's "green gold". (Hayter and Barnes 1997:1) Table 8 outlines some of the major changes to have occurred in what is often referred to as the transition from a Fordist to a post-Fordist forest industry. These changes are described throughout the chapter. Table 8: Characteristics of the Fordist and post-Fordist Forest Industry -1950 --> -1990 Operations Employment Exports Resource Use Organization Production Forest Policy Natural Regeneration Vertical Integration Mass production Sustained Yield Cost minimization Commodities Fordism Intensive Management Very large and small firms Flexible mass production Flexible specialization Value Maximization Flexibility Commodities High value products Sustainability Source: based on Hayter 1996:102. 72 In the following, I trace out the development of the British Columbia forest industry that brought it to its present-day 'crossroad', focusing on the structure of the industry. Given the enormous influence of forest policy, particularly tenure arrangements, on industry structure, these are discussed when appropriate. The purposes of this chapter are twofold. First, the chapter provides background information to situate my case study of hinterland small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley in the British Columbia forest industry. Second, through this review of the hegemonic narrative of the forest industry, I establish a foundation for my later exploration of forest economies in order to demonstrate that the story of the British Columbia forest industry is but one narrative, and that others are also possible. 4.2 Beginnings of an Industry The early years of the British Columbia forest industry are usually written as a time of naive recklessness prior to regulation. For example, Reid and Weaver (1974) refer to this time as the "period of exploitation and waste"; the Ministry of Forests (1994) refer to it as "Pioneer Days". This phase of 'competitive capitalism' (Reid and Weaver 1974) in the forest industry consisted of small, labour-intensive businesses. Harvesting rights were granted easily, and stumpage rates were kept low by a government eager to develop the forest industry after the demise of the fur trade. The result was the "forest liquidation" first described by Lower (1938), and repeated in subsequent reviews of the industry, such as this summary by Marchak (1983:33): The history and the folklore of the industry is replete with countless stories of harsh bosses, bad working conditions, a complete lack of regard for the environment or the future forest as small businessmen competed to fell record quantities of timber. The forest seemed then to be endless, and for a time so seemed the markets. Most timber extraction occurred along the Coast during this early period, where timber was accessible, cheap transportation by water was available, and winter weather conditions were not a formidable barrier. Typically, logging occurred in good weather conditions; milling took place on site in poor conditions. The southern interior also 73 experienced growth between the late 1800s and the 1920s, supplying local mines and railways as well as U.S. and prairie markets. The northern interior had no significant forest industry at this time. 4.2.1 Industry Structure The number of sawmills increased province-wide from 334 in 1914 to 542 in 1940 (see Figure 5). Figure 5: Number of Sawmills, British Columbia, 1914 to 1940 600 -500 -400 -100 0 J 1914 1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 Source: B C Forest Service, Annual Reports, cited in the Sawmilling Industry of B C , October 1972, B C Dept. of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce, and Sloan 1956. 74 The industry was focused predominantly on the Coast throughout this early period, as illustrated in Figure 6. Figure 6: Timber Production, Coast vs. Interior, 1912 -1940 E 20 n — • — C o a s t - - * - - Interior 1912 1920 1930 1940 Source: Ministry of Forests Annual Reports 4.2.2 Employment Province-wide, there were 393 persons employed in forestry in 1871; by 1911 it had jumped to 15,400. British Columbia's population also exploded at this time, increasing by 700% over the same period (Marchak 1983:33). By the late 1920s employment in the forest industry had exceed 100,000 employees, as illustrated in Figure 7. Figure 7: Employment in the Forest Industry, 1928 -1940 140,000 -120,000 -100,000 -80,000 -60,000 -40,000 -20,000 -<P & ^ & <f <P J Source: Lands and Forests, Series K119-123 Principal Statistics of woods operations, 1926 to 1959 (1934 not available) 75 Employment statistics fluctuate considerably in the early era, which may reflect in part difficulties in assembling data on 'cut and run' operators as much as volatility in the market. The decline in employment in the early 1930s reflects the implementation of the Smoot-Hawley legislation which created barriers to U.S. markets. In 1932, Ottawa negotiated free trade on lumber within the British empire, improving prospects for the BC forest industry (Dept. of Regional Industrial Expansion 1986:23). 4.2.3 Implications of Forest Policy Initially, land was granted outright to prospective lumbermen. Approximately 5 % of the forest lands of British Columbia are still privately owned as a result of this policy. In 1896, concerned that valuable land was being alienated from the Crown, the government began to award timber leases and timber licenses, with the land remaining in the ownership of the Crown. These new timber licences were renewable annually, and transferable, causing a sudden increase in speculative timber staking. Between 1903 and 1907, over 15,000 licenses covering 9 million hectares of Crown land were granted (Ministry of Forests 1994:268). Government involvement in the forest industry was limited during this phase of development. The "temporary tenures", which were a means of renting out land for the purpose of cutting trees, were only granted until 1907. They were, however, easily renewed and holders of these tenures were able to maintain them long past the introduction of the first Forest Act in 1912, which ended the unregulated era. Timber Sales Licenses (TSLs) replaced the temporary tenures and land grants of the earlier laissez-faire era. TSLs were set out and auctioned by the Forest Service, to encourage competition between companies through open bidding for rights to harvest timber on Crown land. In spite of this effort to encourage competition, large companies were able to increase their holdings under this system, and by the end of this 'competitive 76 era' there was already considerable consolidation in the industry. In 1944, immediately prior to the new Forest Act and the sustained yield paradigm which would accompany it, 2,877 persons or corporations had various cutting rights throughout the province. However, of these, 58 (or 2%) held rights to 51.7% of the total tenured area, while 2,729 of these rights were tenures of less than 5,000 acres (Marchak 1983). 4.3 Fordism Following World War II a new industrial era began, fueled by pent-up consumer demand and technological innovations induced by military requirements now available for industrial and commercial uses. What is often referred to as 'Fordism' in the literature, the long boom of the post-war years, emerged as a regime of 'management' - organized labour, corporate business, and bureaucratic government working together to ensure continued economic growth. During the heyday of Fordism (i.e., the long boom from the Second World War to the early 1970s), the development of assembly-line techniques and Taylorism was orchestrated in North America by the three economic institutional pillars of big business, organized labour, and the state. Business and organized labour forged a mutually agreeable wage-bargain, in which management organized work practices on the factory floor in accordance with Taylorist principles in return for steadily increasing wages and improvements in working conditions for workers. Such a deal worked because of the improving productivity that stemmed precisely from those Taylorist practices (Hayter and Barnes 1997a:10). This era of the British Columbia forest industry was characterized by large, integrated firms, a strong unionized workforce, and resource towns held together by common economic interests and similar demographics; it is considered the golden age of forestry in British Columbia. Changes in the tenure system provided greater security to 77 firms, encouraging increased investment. New technologies improved productivity. Higher profits for companies combined with strong unions to provide job security and hence community stability. The new sustained yield policy reassured conservationists and the public alike that their forests were being well-managed. 4.3.1 The Influence of 'Sustained Yield' Policy Between 1943 and 1945, Gordon Sloan was commissioned to enquire into the state of the forest industry in British Columbia, for purposes of "protecting the lumber industry" (Marchak 1983:36). The changes in forest policy resulting from the 1945 Sloan Commission mark a shift in forest management with the introduction of "sustained yield". Sustained yield, in itself, is a straight-forward concept, which determines the amount of timber which can be cut over a period of time in order to ensure that the amount of timber cut is precisely equal to the amount of timber growth in the same period. In order to be able to plan the timber harvest effectively, timber withdrawals must be exactly equal to growth15. Along with the narrow scientific objectives of sustained yield, came a new culture of rational, scientific management. Bernard Fernow, who had brought the concept of sustained yield from Germany to his position as dean of forestry at the University of Toronto in 1907, was convinced that governments and large corporations were in the best position to undertake the long term planning required to manage forests for a sustained yield. It was not until after World War II that British Columbia was ready to embrace such a philosophy of bureaucratic management. As it was, the post war period was also a time of anti-communism in Canada, and this affected the manner in which sustained yield policies were implemented in British Columbia's Forest Act. The emphasis on the importance of free enterprise and 1 5 In practice, sustained yield in British Columbia also required the removal of old-growth forest until all timber in an assigned area was even-aged, resulting in Annual Allowable Cut calculations that may be higher than the long-term sustainable cut. 78 competition might otherwise have been diminished, for Sloan was certainly skeptical by this time of the ability of free enterprise to manage the forest resources sustainably: ""free enterprise" is sometimes a handy excuse for a laissez-faire policy but should not be permitted to override the public interest in seeing to it that our forests are not wasted by itinerant and irresponsible despoilers of good wood", wrote Sloan (1945:60). Planned management became important to develop resources for the public interest. This is reflected, for example, in Orchard's testimony to Sloan in his second (1956) Royal Commission: "it is my firm belief that, if you're thinking of nothing else whatever, no consideration whatever except the public interest over a long term of years, we ought to have every square foot of forest land in British Columbia under management license." Control over operations was certainly part of the government's preference for management units over Timber Sales as well. "Dr. Orchard admits that it is more difficult and expensive to control a large number of timber-sale operators in a public forest than one licensee of a forest management license, leaving the details to him" (Sloan 1956:65). Corporate concentration came to be seen as being in the public interest whereas small business entrepreneurs were considered 'irresponsible despoilers' out to 'cut and run'. Sloan, Orchard, and other forest managers of the time believed that through proper sustained yield management, corporations would be assured of a steady supply of timber, therefore able to provide steady employment, contribute to community stability, and provide healthy returns to shareholders. And until the collapse came in the early 1980s, that is more or less what the major forest corporations did. 4.3.2 Industry Structure During the long boom, production was increasingly controlled by large multinational corporations, such as Macmillan Bloedel, pursuing strategies of horizontal and vertical integration (Hayter 1976), and overwhelmingly emphasized a limited range of standard 79 commodities, utilizing proven mass-production techniques, principally for the U.S. market (Marchak 1983; Hayter 1987). The number of sawmills province-wide grew from 807 in 1944, to 1826 in 1950, reaching a peak of 2489 in 1955. Since then, numbers have declined significantly, see Figure 8. By 1976 only 442 sawmills were estimated to be in operation in British Columbia. Figure 8: Number of Sawmills, British Columbia, 1945 -1978 3000 2500 2000 1500 -] 1000 500 0 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1976 1978 Source: BC Forest Service, Annual Reports, cited in the Sawmilling Industry of British Columbia, October 1972, B C Dept. of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce and Marchak 1983. The increasing importance of large firms during the Fordist era is reflected in Table 9, illustrating value of shipments by size of sawmill. Table 9: Value of Shipments of Sawmills by Employee Size, 1963-76 1963 1976 Employees $million % $million % <50 270 35 340 12 50-100 146 19 344 12 100-199 130 17 893 31 200-499 124 16 886 31 >500 106 14 416 14 All Sawmills 776 100 2879 100 Source: Statistics Canada, in Forest Products Group, Dept. of Industry Trade and Commerce 1978. In 1963, sawmills employing fewer than 100 people still contributed over half of the total value of shipments by sawmills in British Columbia. By 1976 small businesses 80 employing fewer than 100 people contributed only 24% of total value of shipments, whereas 76% of shipments were from businesses with over 100 employees. The small firm sector had declined rapidly during the post-war period. Productivity increased in the mills dramatically during the post-war era, as did production, particularly in the Interior. Between 1944 and 1955 there was a 100% increase province-wide in the volume of production, with much of this occurring in the Interior. The gross sale value of this volume increased by 290%. The value of chip production in the Interior increased by an astounding 21000% (Sloan 1956). By 1971 lumber production had more than doubled again, as illustrated in Figure 9. Figure 9: Lumber Production, Coast and Interior, 1951 -1971, ( thousand board feet) 6,000,000 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 0 1951 1961 1971 Source: Statistics Canada, cited in BC Dept. of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce, 1972. Specialization, and changing technologies led to economies of scale in both milling and logging. Hayter and Barnes (1997b:63) describe the Coastal practices of "large-scale, capital-intensive, company logging dominated by powerful machines operated by well unionized labor." Marchak (1988:178) notes changes in logging as well: "logging which had been done by the sawmill companies or small, local contractors became impossible: independent loggers could not gain access to timber. By the 1970's virtually all logging companies were either subsidiaries or on contract to a few large companies." 81 Forestry in the Interior did become Fordist, but not until the early 1970s - the time when the so-called "industrial divide" from Fordism to post-Fordism (flexible specialization) is said to have occurred (Piore and Sabel 1984). Furthermore, Fordism occurred differently in the Interior. While coastal mills became increasingly sophisticated following the Second World War, the portable bush mill still prevailed in the 1950s in the Interior, particularly in the North (Drushka 1998). Interior firms only began to consolidate in the 1970s. The number of firms in the northern Interior increased from the late thirties until 1957, when there were 704, then decreased to 135 in 1971 (Bernsohn 1981). Over the period from the late 1960s to 1980, some 1,200 small, competitive sawmills shut down throughout the province but especially in the Interior, and of the remaining 300, most were either part of the large corporate operations, or feeding into them (Marchak 1995:87). Very large, highly efficient mills were built in the North, in places like Prince George, Quesnel and Houston, and by the mid 1980s the Interior industry had completed an intense modernization phase (Drushka 1998:212). This modernization occurred through acquisition of harvesting rights through buying up small quotas. Nonetheless, the 'family' orientation of the Interior remained, and there are still fewer multinational corporations in the Interior than on the Coast (Drushka 1998). 4.3.3 Employment The following tables compare employment in logging, sawmilling and pulp and paper between 1961 and 1980. Logging and sawmilling experienced job losses in the mid-1970s but recovered and continued to make gains until the early 1980s. The pulp and paper sector experienced gradual, steady employment growth during the period. On average, there were employment gains in all three sectors over this time period. 8 2 Figure 10: Employment in Logging, Sawmilling, Pulp and Paper, 1963 -1980 40,000 -, 35,000 -30,000 -25,000 -20,000 -15,000 -10,000 -5,000 -0 -I—,—,—,—,—,—,—,—,—,—,—,—i—,—,—,—,—, <p ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ • Logging ^ ^ ^ ^ S a w m i l l i n g BBKMMinpuip and Paper Linear (Sawmilling) Linear (Logging) Linear (Pulp and Paper) Source: Statistics Canada Cat 25-202. Woodworkers organized under the Workers' Unity League during the early 1930s (Marchak 1988:185). The long intense struggle of the "Wobblies", then later the IWA (formed in 1937), in the many logging camps along the Coast is well-documented in "The IWA in British Columbia" (IWA 1971). A successful strike in 1946 added about 10,000 new members for a total of 37,000 members, who were concentrated along the Coast, especially in logging camps (Perry 1997:10). However it was not until after the second World War that unions made serious in-roads into the Interior, and by that time anti-Communist sentiment curtailed the strength of the unions' bargaining positioning in labour arrangements. Nonetheless, by the end of the Fordist era, in 1979, almost 50,000 of the province's 85,000 forest workers belonged to the IWA , the majority of whom were mill workers (Drushka 1985:212).16 1 6 According to Statistics Canada data, there were 80,000 employees in the forest sector in 1979; these kinds of discrepancy in employment data are not uncommon owing to different collection methodologies between agencies. 83 Logging remained non-unionized in the Interior, especially the northern Interior. Instead, small operators continued their 'independent' logging operations, although their logs were more likely to be sold to major licensees than milled on site or cut into railway ties, as in generations past. Drushka (1998:131) notes that "unlike their counterparts on the Coast, Interior loggers did not rush to join the union. They did not work in big camps, as did many coastal loggers, and most of them logged only in the winter, working on their farms or at other seasonal jobs in the summer. As a result, Interior union locals were built around the sawmills, and millworkers dominated the union." Unemployment was rarely a problem during the Fordist era. High wages and more secure employment meant high standards of living for those living in the resource communities which were created 'naturally' through demand or 'artificially' through instant town planning17. In spite of occasional 'busts', prospects were good in resource communities. "[In] the many Fordist forest-based mill towns found in British Columbia...high wages and employment opportunities were frequently complemented by desirable lifestyles organized around outdoor recreation" (Hayter and Barnes 1997a:11). Instant town planning focused on providing recreational amenities such as sports complexes and shopping malls for workers and their families as a way of compensating for geographical isolation and limited employment opportunities outside of the resource industry, particularly (and even within the resource industry) for women. The literature on resource communities is discussed in greater detail in Chapter Five. 4.3.4 Implications of Forest Policy In order to achieve 'sustained yield', the Ministry needed control over the timber harvest. The quota system developed to address this need, providing assured timber to 1 7 In 1965 the Instant Towns Act was passed, establishing guidelines for new town development in British Columbia. Responsibility for new town development was transferred from companies to new municipal structures. For discussion see Bradbury (1980). 84 proven operators. Since quotas were transferable, inefficient operators could sell out, making more money on their quota than the sawmill was actually worth. This system encouraged the expansion of efficient mills, with little resistance from the small inefficient operators, who could do well simply by selling out. Most significant of the amendments to the Forest Act in 1947 was the establishment of two new tenure types, Public Sustained Yield Units (PSYUs) and Forest Management Licences (FMLs), later to become Tree Farm Licences (TFLs). In the PSYUs, operators were granted volume-based tenures through a timber sale harvesting licence, but management of the PSYUs was to be carried out by the Forest Service. FMLs were area-based harvesting licenses, originally granted in perpetuity, but after 1956 granted for a 21 year term, during which the licensee was expected to invest in production facilities (so-called appurtenance clauses) within geographical proximity to their FML. The two types of tenure were distributed quite differently between the Coast and the Interior. By 1956, although total volumes cut were not significantly different between Coast and Interior, the apportionment was quite different, with Forest Management Licenses accounting for 62% of the cut on the Coast versus 13% in the Interior, and Timber Sales on Public Working Circle and Sustained Yield Unit lands accounting for 38% of the cut on the Coast versus 87% in the Interior. By the 1970s, Timber Sale Harvesting Licences (evolved from Timber Sale Licences) had become a preferred tenure arrangement for government. Under these licences, companies were required to compile inventories, reforest, undertake road construction and fire suppression. Again, this trend favoured larger companies, since smaller ones could not undertake such extensive forest management practices (Marchak 1983:49). 85 In 1961 Pulpwood Harvesting Agreements (PHAs) were introduced, profoundly affecting the development of the North. Pulpwood Harvesting Agreements stated that additional allowable harvesting rights would be given to sawmills that demonstrated the ability to process previously unusable timber for pulpmill use in locations agreed upon by government. In 1966 consolidation was intensified with the introduction of "close utilization" standards. Close utilization standards required small or "defective" timber to be removed as well as sawlogs as a condition of a TSL. Wood which previously would not have been cut or would have been left to rot into the ground, was now required to be brought into production to be chipped for pulp. Stumpage rates for pulpwood were fixed and low. Pulp mills were also required to purchase chips from sawmills, and prohibited from competing with sawmills at PSYU Timber Sales. The demand for chips provided sawmills with a secure market for a waste product. Sawmills with barkers and chippers could receive higher quotas, enabling increased capital investment. However, this required barkers and chippers, which smaller mills could not afford. Pulp mills tried to buy out as many sawmills as possible, to reduce chip costs and increase their access to timber. The requirement of chipping equipment led to industry consolidation and the elimination of hundreds of small outfits throughout the North. The dramatic consolidation which occurred in the industry during this time was not embraced by everyone. Facing mounting public pressure, the government appointed Peter Pearse chair of a Royal Commission in 1975, with a mandate to investigate the implications of existing tenure arrangements in the forest industry, and to consider patterns of integration, concentration, ownership and control. Pearse covered many aspects of the forest industry; I focus on his recommendations relating to small business. One of Pearse's concerns was the balance between large and small firms in the industry. "The forest policies we have pursued have not... been neutral; while they have 86 been deliberately biased to the disadvantage of small, non-integrated firms and potential new firms, there can be little doubt that they have nevertheless accelerated the consolidation of the industry into fewer, larger and more integrated companies" (Pearse 1978:60). Pearse found that "the scope of opportunities available for these [small] enterprises is unduly restricted in British Columbia, and that forest conditions and changing social attitudes offer a promising potential for extending them in future" (Pearse 1978:188). Some, but certainly not all, of Pearse's recommendations were included in the new Forest Act of 1978. A major change in the allocation of forest resources occurred through the introduction of the Small Business Program (see Appendix B). The Small Business Forest Enterprise Program was established in the 1978 Forest Act, in order "to provide opportunities for individuals and firms in the forest industry to acquire timber for their operations, and for individuals and firms to enter the industry and establish new businesses", as well as to increase diversity, employment, competition, government revenue and forest management (Ministry of Forests, no date). The then Minister of Forests Tom Waterland suggested that the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program comprise 25% of the AAC. His suggestion was met with antagonism by the forest industry, and consequently reduced to 15% of provincial AAC as a program objective (Drushka 1985:87)18. In 1988, 5% of major licensee timber rights were reallocated to the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program, increasing the provincial allocation to the program to 13% of the total Annual Allowable Cut. The 1978 Forest Act, along with the Timber Harvesting Contract and Sub-Contract Regulation, also set out detailed rules about relationships between licensees and 1 8 This objective has yet to be met. Currently, the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program is apportioned 13% of the provincial A A C . 87 contractors, as well as their subcontractors. Requirements to contract out 50% of a company's logging requirements were introduced, which remain today. This legislation did not result from Pearse's recommendations, who had noted in his report the growing tendency for major licensees to contract out logging for reasons of efficiency, making such legislation unnecessary. The Ministry of Forests (1997b:6) claims that "these two provisions evolved as a mechanism to provide contractors with a level of security similar to that enjoyed by holders of major replaceable licences." Earlier, Sloan had suggested that small operators preferred contract logging because of its greater security: "Although some operators would rather log for themselves than work for someone else, this practice of open market logging has been decreasing in favour of the greater security offered by contract and "first refusal" logging" (Sloan 1956:70). Marchak disputes the reality of this security for contractors, arguing instead that the benefits of these contracting arrangements accrue to the large production facilities through lower cost, more flexible labour. "The contractors are not independent, since they have no ownership rights to the timber, but they shoulder the risks of over-capitalization, soft markets, and employment" (Marchak 1988:189). 4.4 Post-Fordism The golden era of forestry did not last. Soon after the introduction of the new Forest Act came the recession of the early 1980s, severely impacting the forest industry. Walter (1997:291) claims that "the evolution of important natural resource industries in British Columbia, most importantly the forest industry, has moved from a mill/workshop to Fordist export-based economy in the post-war period, and now may be moving to a post-Fordist, corporate flexible specialization." Barnes and Hayter (1994:289) assert that "over the last 88 decade the forestry sector in British Columbia underwent a seachange of sorts as the industry moved from a regime of Fordism to one of flexible specialization." Increasingly, institutional arrangements, primarily stumpage rates and tenure, were seen as bearing the responsibility for creating a governance system which encourages concentration of power, capital and access to the resource base, and contributes to instability and vulnerability in the provincial economy. In addition to these pressures, the forest industry also had to face the "falldown" which had been predicted since at least the Pearse Commission in 1978 - the reduction in quality in timber resulting from the move from old growth to second growth forests. Sustainability replaced sustained yield as a resource management paradigm, introducing new problems for forest companies accustomed to having the forests for themselves. The forest industry and the British Columbia economy appear fundamentally altered as a result of the 1980s recession. The Ministry of Regional and Economic Development (1990:5) claims that Brit ish C o l u m b i a e m e r g e d f rom the recess iona ry per iod of 1981-1986 fundamenta l l y c h a n g e d . W h i l e commod i t y resource products still const i tute the co re in te rms of i n c o m e a n d weal th creat ion, their contr ibut ion to emp loymen t creat ion h a s been drast ical ly d im in ished by the cont inuous p r o c e s s of labour shedd ing due to mechan iza t ion and automat ion . Three themes have become increasingly interwoven in British Columbia's forest economy: (i) the ability of major licensees to compete globally, with corresponding concerns for forest-dependent communities and workers regarding continuing job losses; (ii) increasing concern within British Columbia, the rest of Canada and in Europe over the 'sustainability' of the forest resource (and especially with preservation of remaining old growth forests), and (iii) special interest group demands that they be active participants in a much more open land use planning process. 89 All three of these themes have contributed, in different ways, to an increased focus on small business, especially the so-called valued-added sector, and an increased focus on local control over resources as being better able to 'solve' the problems of corporate forestry including deforestation, over-cutting, lack of or improper silviculture, job losses, and community instability. But there are important differences between analysts who understand this new role for small business as part of a post-Fordist forest industry, which remains solidly corporate; and those who interpret the same events as an indication of the increasing democratization of the forest industry, a harbinger of a new 'value economy'. These differences, which are rooted in different theoretical positions, are explored more fully in Chapter Five. 4.4.1 Restructuring and Flexibility An important response to the recession of the early 1980s was a restructuring of the industry through acquisitions and mergers. In 1975 the ten largest companies controlled 59% of the province's harvesting rights; by 1990 this had risen to 69% (Pearse 1978 and Peel 1991), and at the end of the 1990s is at almost 68% (Marchak et al. 1999). Many of these companies are interrelated; in 1986, Marchak found that 84% of the total provincial timber cut was controlled by four interconnected groups of companies (Marchak 1995:89). During the post-Fordist era, number of sawmills declined by 39% in the Interior, from 235 in 1979 to 144 in 1993. On the Coast, however, number of sawmills remained relatively stable, with 115 in 1979 and 116 in 1993 (see Figure 11). 90 Figure 11: Number of Sawmills, Coast and Interior, BC, 1979 to 1993 Productivity improvements were significant during the rapid growth years of the 60s and 70s, but have slowed in recent years (see Figure 12). During this same period, employment in the forest industry has declined. In logging, employment has dropped from 24,300 in 1980 to 18,600 in 1995. Sawmilling and planing mill employment declined from 35,800 in 1980 to 29,100 in 1995. Between 1980 and 1994, there was a decline of 3.600 workers in pulp and paper (all from Marchak et al.1999:104-05). Figure 12: Employment per 1000 m3,1963- 95 1.6 -i 1.4 -1.2 -1 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 -0 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 4? <f <P <f <f <f / <f <f Source: Statistics Canada. Canadian Forestry Statistics, Cat. 25-202 Barnes and Hayter (1994:298) claim that "..the recession [of the early 1980s] signaled the existence of longer term forces of structural change that continue to have an effect, a change that is best conceived, as we have argued elsewhere (Barnes and Hayter 91 1992), as a transition from Fordist to post-Fordist production models." Flexibility, particularly labour flexibility, is a key component of the post-Fordist system of production, "...the post-Fordist labour process can be defined as a flexible production process that is based on flexible machines or systems and an appropriately flexible workforce" (Jessop 1989:29). Barnes and Hayter make two important observations about this time of transition in the industry. One, that many resource communities have suffered during this transition; and two, that the impacts have not been felt evenly, with more disruption occurring in the coastal industry. As they put it, "much of the burden of that transition fell on the coastal single-industry forest communities" (Barnes and Hayter 1994:289). Restructuring occurred in regionally diverse ways. Grass and Hayter (1989) found that the recession was experienced differently between the coastal and interior regions due to different histories of development. The older coastal plants experienced a greater degree of employment change, especially job loss. In addition, coastal plants were more likely than interior mills to adjust their product mix and to seek out more geographically diverse markets. Changes in production in the British Columbia forest industry revolved around three kinds of flexibility: i) production technology, i.e. computer-assisted machinery and associated work practices; ii) a new type of flexible labour market organization; and iii) flexibility in local economic strategies of forest communities trying to cope with the latest manifestation of the tension between the mobility of capital and the rootedness of place (Hayter and Barnes 1997a:8).19 Technological change has been key to the transition in the forest industry (Hayter 1988). Barnes (1996b) found that the changes in MacMillan Bloedel's Chemainus 1 9 Of course, these factors interact in complex ways, and there is heated debate over the nature and causes of the new flexibility (see the debate between Gertler (1988,1989) and Schoenberger (1989) for a broad overview). 92 operations exhibited characteristics of flexible specialization, but for a significantly reduced in-house workforce. Some functions, such as planing, were contracted out to non-unionized shops. The impacts of technological change leading to reduced in-house employees was felt throughout the resource communities studied by Barnes and Hayter (1992; see also Hayter, Grass and Barnes [1994] and Barnes and Hayter 1994). Many laid-off workers found informal work at much lower wages, and their spouses needed to find employment as well. This employment was often in the tourism industry, which Chemainus encouraged through a series of murals celebrating the community's past. But as Barnes argues, "given the poor working conditions and pay, such post-Fordist employment was no match for the heyday of Fordism that it replaced" (Barnes 1996b:63). Marchak et al. (1999:102-03) claim that "the highly computerized industry needs workers who are flexible, can adapt to new demands, can move in and out of different roles, and are innovative as well as productive. In forestry, as in other industries, this shift from "Fordist" principles to "flexibility" principles has caused labour conflict in some cases. In other cases, it has led to agreements between unions and management to permit and encourage change. Typically the trade-off involves higher wages for fewer, less rigidly defined workers." The dominant trend, paralleling the shift toward flexible mass production, is the move from "Fordist" labour relations, characterised by principles of seniority and strong job demarcation, to "flexible operating cultures" (Barnes and Hayter 1992; Hayter and Barnes 1992; Hayter, Grass, and Barnes 1994). This complex trend includes efforts both to produce a multi-skilled "core" workforce and to reduce labour costs, including by relying more on "peripheral" workforces. (Hayter 1996:112) The core-periphery labour structure established during the Fordist period may be even further entrenched in the post-Fordist period. The core-periphery structure contains core mill workers who are generally unionized and well-paid for clearly demarcated tasks, and peripheral, non-unionized, logging contractors. In the current era, some changes in this structure found by analysts include the contracting out of previously 'core' functions such as 93 the planing arrangements in Chemainus, as well as re-training and functional flexibility of core workers. In 1993, 83% of logging activity across the province was carried out by contractors, with 100% of Interior logging conducted by contractors, versus only 48% on the Coast (Price Waterhouse 1994:15, cited in Hayter 1999). There has been a steady growth in the number of logging firms over the period 1979 - 1993 (see Figure 13), reflecting the increased use of contractors rather than in-house loggers. Figure 13: Number of Establishments in Logging, Coast and Interior BC, 1979 -1993 400 -i Source: Statistics Canada Cat. 25-202 Hayter (1999:8) argues that the extensive use of logging contractors reflects their efficiency, both in terms of lower labour costs as well as their "greater flexibility in making faster decisions, coping with highly varied conditions, and more fully utilizing machinery and equipment." The vast majority of firms in logging are very small businesses. Ninety percent of the 3,851 small businesses in forestry (which includes logging and silviculture but not manufacturing) in British Columbia in 1995 employed fewer than twenty employees (BC 94 Stats 1995). The presence of many logging firms, each employing relatively few employees, suggests the kind of versatility and flexibility referred to by Hayter. 2 0 There may also be scope for smaller, flexibly specialized producers of 'value-added' products. Value-added is predicted to occur through a shift to flexible mass production in large firms and batch production in smaller, interconnected and geographically proximate firms (Rees and Hayter 1996). There has been considerable attention paid to the potential of value-added forest industries in British Columbia (see the BC government's Jobs and Timber Accord, for example [Ministry of Forests 1997b], in which the government sets out employment targets for value-added forest industries, and links these jobs to timber supply to major corporations). In spite of this, there is surprisingly little firm or employment data for the value-added industries. In 1986, the Dept. of Regional Industrial Expansion commissioned a report on specialty wood products which found 195 specialty product mills in the province, with 72 percent of these concentrated in the Lower Mainland (DRIE 1986:7). (Employment data were not provided for these firms.) Price Waterhouse (1994) reported in 1992 that there were 565 firms and 11,000 full-time jobs in value-added industries, which comprise remanufacturing, engineered building components, millwork and 'other wood products' industries. There have been no studies since 1992 to update these employment figures. Recent Price Waterhouse reports on the forest industry have estimated trends in value-added employment (Marchak et al. 1999). The difficulty in tracking logging firms is indicative of the entrepreneurial nature of this industry. In 1988 Statistics Canada changed reporting practices in the logging industry, because, as they noted in their Principal Statistics 1988:7, 'The universe for logging contains a large number of small, unincorporated businesses; many are owner operators and do not have employees. Normal methods for establishing survey universe information, developed to track incorporated companies with employees, will fail to record these small operations. While this is not a major problem within the manufacturing universe it leads to undercoverage in logging." For this reason, Statistics Canada began, in 1987 to include Revenue Canada information on unincorporated firms in logging, resulting in more than a doubling of recorded firms. 95 A less optimistic view on the increase in small business in forestry is that it is either a direct result of corporate downsizing (for example, some employment losses within MacMillan Bloedel were replaced by arrangements with contract loggers [Barnes and Hayter 1994]); or a reaction to unemployment, for example, in the creation of tourism small business in Chemainus to replace jobs lost at MacMillan Bloedel (Barnes and Hayter 1992). In either case, the 'new' jobs are, on average, lower paying and less secure than in the Fordist era (Marchak et al. 1999). Restructuring of the labour force appears to be an inevitable aspect of the new economy. If capital is to remain in British Columbia in the face of emerging opportunities in southern markets, particularly in pulp but also in dimension lumber, it must be able to compete on the new terms, particularly with respect to labour (Marchak 1995). During the recession, provincial numbers of small businesses in the forest industry did increase, as illustrated by Table 10. By 1984, small logging and silviculture firms had increased 1 1 % from 1982, and small manufacturing firms had grown 2 5 % over the same period. It should also be noted, however, that small business in forestry has been subject to fluctuations throughout the Fordist and post-Fordist periods. Table 10: Small business in the Forest Industry, BC, 1982 -1984 Year Forestry Wood Industries 1982 3439 779 1983 3214 743 1984 3826 1006 Source: Stats Canada 61-231 and B C Stats, Quarterly Regional Statistics 96 4.4.2 Employment Employment has fluctuated during the 'post-Fordist' period, but job losses along the British Columbia coast have been particularly significant. As noted by Barnes and Hayter, between 1980 and 1990, approximately 2200 permanent jobs were lost at MacMillan Bloedel's Port Alberni facilities alone. An estimated 21,341 jobs were lost in the British Columbia forest products industries between 1979 and 1982 (Grass and Hayter 1989:244), although some were recovered. Marchak recorded a net decrease of 16,000 forest workers in British Columbia between 1979 and 1991 (Marchak 1997:158). As Barnes and Hayter (1992:302) explain, "because of new investment opportunities elsewhere, the development of new markets and methods of production, old production sites are either abandoned, wound-down or radically altered in situ." In any of these cases, employment loss was a result. Grass and Hayter found that employment losses varied regionally. They observe that "throughout most of the Interior job losses were "moderate" -0.5% for 1981-82 and 2.6% for 1981-85 for all forest products industries in the Interior - and in the Prince George area there were even job increases" (Grass and Hayter 1989:245). Hence, while the overall impression of the forest industry is of unionized jobs under threat by restructuring, in the North there has been, until recent years at least, a sense of immunity to these conditions. Unions remained strong relative to most industries, but job losses suffered in the 1980s recession weakened their previous bargaining power. Drushka (1985:206-07) refers to the ...fairly rigid class structure within the forest companies. There is a labour group of wage earners and a salaried management group. Both have affiliations outside the particular corporation that employs them; the managers belong to professional associations, the workers to labour unions - essentially one union, the International Woodworkers of America (IWA). There is practically no mobility between these two groups; in fact, there are many rules and conventions prohibiting such mobility. 97 By 1995, IWA memberships had dropped to 27,500, a reduction of 43% over fifteen years (Marchak 1995:99). Figure 14 illustrates the trends in employment during the 'post-Fordist' period. Aggregate employment has been relatively steady since the mid 1980s onward, following the dramatic declines of the early 1980s. Notably there has been little upward trend during this time. Figure 14: Employment in Logging, Sawmilling, Pulp and Paper, 1981 -1995 80,000 -, • Logging SSawmilling 31 Pulp and Paper Source: Statistics Canada Cat. 25-202 4.4.3 New Voices The collapse of the Fordist sustained yield paradigm created a gap in forest policy, causing uncertainty for the forest industry, forest dependent communities and environmentalists alike, which escalated into seemingly intractable hostility among the warring factions. In this 'war in the woods', many communities have become battlegrounds, as resource workers and environmentalists fight for the trees. Forest workers and their communities, and mostly-urban environmentalists have positioned themselves, and/or been positioned in a battle of "jobs versus the environment." Government has responded with regulations such as the Forest Practices Code, designed to appease the international community, and local planning initiatives such as Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) which attempt to reach consensus on local resource uses and allocations. 98 In British Columbia, sustainability has become part of the lexicon of forestry -present in most government publications, frequently found at forestry conferences, advocated by non-governmental organizations and activists, and even heard in board room discussions. As Jim Drescher (1997:57) says, "sustainability is on everyone's minds and lips these days. But our understanding of, and rhetoric about, it is mostly conceptual, rather than rooted in experience." The sustainability movement is usually attributed to the publication of the Brundtland commission report "Our Common Future" (WCED 1987), and since its publication, the goal of sustainability has been adopted, in various forms, by most governments, industry groups and corporations, and environmental groups. In British Columbia, the Ministry of Forests has embraced the sustainability movement in its policy documents, claiming that (f)orest policy, which until the last decade has been primarily concerned with maximizing production of timber and then of multiple resources, has changed. Sustaining ecological processes, rather than soley sustaining yield soley (sic), has become the central goal. (Ministry of Forests 1994:282) The introduction of sustainability as a policy goal did not satisfy critics of the British Columbia forest industry. Environmental campaigns such as Carmanah Valley in 1990 and Clayoquot Sound in 1993 brought international attention to what environmentalists consider the unsustainability of the British Columbia forest industry. Faced with mounting conflicts between preservationists and industry, government appointed a Commission, chaired by Sandy Peel, to "provide the Minister of Forests and through him, the Government, with a comprehensive view of what the forests of British Columbia should represent, advise the Minister of Forests...on the effectiveness of Tree Farm Licences as a form of tenure; to recommend ways to improve public participation in forest planning and management, [and] to review and recommend ways of improving forest harvesting practices..." (Peel 1991: appendix 1:3). 99 A provincial land use planning process was strongly recommended by Peel in his 1991 Forest Resources Commission. Facing increasing public pressure in the early 1990s, the Ministry of Forests initiated numerous planning processes, including the Old Growth Strategy, Parks and Wilderness for the 90s, Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE), Forest Sector Strategy Committee (which led to the Forest Renewal Plan in 1994), and the Task Force on Native Forestry. Submissions to the Forest Resources Commission became the principles and objectives which guided the development of the comprehensive "Forest Practices Code". In 1994, relevant ministries were given expanded powers to work with the Ministry of Forests on compliance and enforcement of the Code, and on July 7, 1994, Bill 40 the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act was passed in the B.C. Legislature. On June 15, 1995, British Columbia's first Forest Practices Code took effect. The intent of the Forest Practices Code was to protect sensitive areas of the province, while remaining sensitive to the needs of industry to remain competitive. Not surprisingly, this attempt at a balancing act has met with severe criticism from both environmentalists and industry. Environmentalists argued that the Forest Practices Code did not protect the environment sufficiently, while industry claimed that it could not afford the additional costs of the Forest Practices Code. Timber Supply Reviews began in 1991; a three year program of public meetings to provide the Chief Forester with information to determine new AACs in Timber Supply Areas and to discuss the Ministry of Forests' intent to increase TFLs. Rayner (1996:91) argues that these public meetings held by the Minister of Forests regarding plans to expand the TFL system (by converting volume-based tenures to area-based tenures) represent a significant turning point for the "multiple-use sustained-yield paradigm" which had held together the forest industry, communities, workers and the 100 general public for the past four decades. Expected to relieve public concerns about the proposed changes, the meetings instead revealed the depth of public distrust of the close links between the ministry and the major licensees, the pervasive perception that public forests were not being managed sustainably even for commodity production, and the widespread interest in new management paradigms. At this point the dominant advocacy coalition effectively lost control of the policy agenda. In 1995 the Forest Practices Code was introduced. Barman (1996:335) argues that the introduction of the Forest Practices Code, the provincial land use strategy, and the Forest Renewal Plan announced in 1994, which included dramatically increased stumpage fees, resulted in "an entirely new way of doing business in BC." Sustainability in the forest industry - the integration of economic, social and environmental goals - is seen increasingly to rest upon the extent to which the forest industry can 'move up the value chain'. 'Value-added' is an important linchpin in the environment-economy-society schema envisioned by those who claim we have entered, or are entering into, a new era of sustainability. Advocates of sustainability argue that the job losses that result from more "sustainable" (conservationist) resource exploitation will be offset by an increase in value-added industries which create jobs by doing 'more with less'. For example, Norm MacLellan, then Vice President of both the BC Federation of Labour and of Region IV (Western Canada) of the Canadian Paperworkers Union, announced that: "the labor movement strongly believes that it is not necessary to have a job loss as a result of industry operating environmentally-friendly operations. Value-added industries are less polluting and environmentally damaging than the resource-extracting industries and provide many more jobs" (MacLellan 1991:1). 4.5 Two Perspectives on the Transition In the current era there are two prevailing stories of the forest industry, one centered around sustainability , the other around restructuring. The restructuring story of a flexible, 101 post-Fordist economy, tells of the pressures facing the British Columbia forest economy, such as job losses and increased insecurity in the global economy. The other story, sustainability, told by environmentalists and advocates of community and regional planning, is a story of consensus-building and locally-driven land use planning, where the same pressures are resolved through increased reliance on community-based development initiatives. Both of these stories foresee an increased role for 'value-added' small business. But the similarities end there. Differences between the two stories are highlighted, for example, in discussions of "value-added" and productivity. Value-added forest industries are loosely and variously defined as production above and beyond commodity production. For post-Fordist advocates of "flexible specialization", the term value-added implies quality and innovation in both production processes and in final products, often within geographically proximate firms. It is often equated with secondary wood processing activities (Hayter 1999). For advocates of sustainability, value-added reflects a whole philosophy of forestry in which respect for the resources, aesthetic appreciation, and community work all come together to produce value (BCRTEE 1993). For writers in the post-Fordist school, like their neoliberal counterparts, productivity improvements are obviously and self-evidently brought about through decreasing the amount of inputs, including labour, required to produce an end product (timber, lumber, etc). Increased productivity benefits corporations through reduced wage bills, fewer employees to manage, and increased competitiveness in the global marketplace. From the sustainability perspective, however, increasing the amount of labour required to produce an end product is obviously and self-evidently a good thing. Proponents of alternative forestry argue that the costs of productivity improvements are borne by an increasing pool of laid-off resource workers and their communities. Rather than pursuing increased productivity, alternative 102 forestry advocates labour-intensive forestry practices, which provide more jobs per cubic metre of wood cut, creating employment and contributing to community stability. The differences between these two schools of thought, and how they impact small forest operators, are described in the following chapter. 4.6 Summing up the British Columbia forest economy The above discussion demonstrates the economic importance of the British Columbia forest industry. Its current structure is strongly corporate, and in recent years the trend seems increasingly toward greater concentration. Given this, it may seem pointless to try to 're-work' the forest industry. Gibson-Graham faces the same challenge in her attempt to deconstruct the discourse of capitalism: how might one acknowledge the very real impacts of capitalism without further contributing to a paralyzing discourse of capitalism? How to acknowledge the significance of the corporate sector of the British Columbia forest industry, without accepting it as inevitable and overwhelming? In later chapters I suggest a 'third way' of writing British Columbia forest economies through multiple class processes which opens up the forest industry to reveal more than the corporate sector which has dominated most of the analyses which informed this chapter. In this section I begin to explore how the corporate forest industry is constructed discursively so that it appears as an inevitable, natural and overpowering. 'The British Columbia forest industry' is usually understood as a homogenous entity. This has implications which range from humorous to tragic. Loggers in the north enjoy telling stories about tourists looking for 'old growth forests' and being horrified to discover that a northern old growth forest is considerably different from the majestic, over-sized, 'Brazil of the North' imagery they have brought with them. But less funny are the stories of corporate forestry which only tell us that half of the industry is controlled by a few corporations, without saying anything about the other half of the industry. Or stories which 103 describe corporations which dominate the rural landscape, as though there were nothing else. In these stories, forest workers and resource communities are paralyzed by the 'cyclonics' of the most recent phase of capitalism. "Enjoying a fragile existence during the best of times, some communities are now on the verge of extinction in these worst of times" (Barnes and Hayter 1994:307). Yet in 1993, there were 260 sawmills throughout the province, and over 3000 logging firms. Each of these companies has a story to tell about the British Columbia forest industry, and many will not be the story of a corporate forest industry. The story of the corporate British Columbia forest industry, which is the central account of the forest economy, has as a subtext the marginalization of certain practices, places, and identities. When reading most accounts of the British Columbia forest industry, this marginalization 'makes sense' - it appears as an inevitable consequence of development. Consider Sloan's observation in his Royal Commission in 1956: Just as a map of an area contracts or expands in accordance with the scale used in its delineation, so do the problems of the Forest Industry differ when viewed in the short or long perspective. In general, the short-term view is that of the so-called "small man" who is vitally interested primarily in conducting a profitable operation within the span of his own expectancy; the long-term view is that held by the large integrated extraction and conversion operations made possible by the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholders' money and employing thousands of men. (Sloan 1956:14) Sloan is often attributed with introducing 'the modern forest industry' through his sustained yield policy, and the 'big forestry' that went with it (Marchak 1988). As such he can be credited with the demise of 'the little guy' as well. Yet Sloan claimed a sense of loyalty to the 'small man', and recommended 400 hectare small scale management sales; a recommendation which was overlooked. (Drushka 1985:249). He noted elsewhere in his Royal Commission report that "our economy needs, and must plan for, the continued existence of the small man" (Sloan 1956:15). Nonetheless, he seemed to believe that small business was destined to decrease. On the coast, as independents were replaced by 104 contract loggers, Sloan noted the "...resultant and undesirable, although inevitable, diminishing open log market" (Sloan 1956:155, emphasis mine). Sloan 'mapped' the small man onto a model of competitive, entrepreneurial capitalism, comparing this to the long-term perspective of Fordist organization. These assumptions about the relationship between firm structure and business practices are reflected thirty-five years later in the Peel Commission recommendations. While the Peel Commission recommended a radical change in tenure arrangement, it nonetheless insisted that these new tenure arrangements would be allocated to organizations who do not own or control processing facilities, and that the wood processing industry be left to 'evolve' as needed: The Commission has concluded that the wood processing industry must be allowed to evolve into whatever structure is needed to maintain its ability to compete in world markets. That may mean further amalgamations of wood processing facilities and a further concentration of existing processing facilities. Corporate concentration among tenure holdings, however, is a different matter. The Commission believes that its recommendations for the diversification of tenure holdings and the establishment of a viable provincial log market will ensure the maintenance of a diverse, competitive forest products industry. (Peel 1991: 28) The Peel commission recommendations reflect a longstanding implicit policy on small business in the province, which encourages a competitive (flexible) sector in logging and oligopoly in manufacturing, while describing the totality of these sectors as 'corporate'. Hayter describes the dual model of the economy under Fordism in which large corporations were the centre and small firms were peripheral: More generally, it might be noted that economic development theory and policy among western economies has been dominated by a dual model of the economy which distinguishes between giant MNCs ('planning system firms') and SMEs ('market system firms'). Under Fordism, planning system firms were assigned the central role (whether as hero or villain) and in the present era of flexibility, market system firms have been re-established as the key to economic vitality. Public policy has paralleled this shift. Thus, in the 1950s and 1960s, regional development policies emphasized the attracting of large firms and their branch plants; since the 1970s more attention has been given to SMEs. The BC forest economy is an exemplar of this thinking, in theory and policy. (Hayter 1999: 39-40) 105 The growing interest in small business has not diminished the hegemony ascribed to corporations in the literature. Consider Drushka's commentary: Historically, one of the most enduring characteristics of the industry is multinationality. ...What has changed more recently is that these corporate entities have become more pervasive - the MacMillan Bloedel insignia is found in the bathroom as well as in the bush, from British Columbia to Brazil. The result is that a corporation such as MacMillan Bloedel is, paradoxically, an abstraction, almost a nonentity. ...few corporations operating in North American forests are actually autonomous operations. Theoretically, of course, they are: they hold separate timber licenses, their trucks are painted different colours and so on. But beyond a certain point most of them are part of a larger, more nebulous supracorporate structure-a vaguely defined, largely unnamed and constantly changing level of organization. The nature of this superstructure is indicated in some of the realignments of corporate connections that occurred between 1978 and 1981. (Drushka 1985:202-03, my emphasis) Drushka's descriptions of corporations as "pervasive" and "nonentities" are dramatic, but they highlight the effect of the predominantly held view of the forest industry as penetrating yet impenetrable. Statements such as the following by Marchak (1995:85) provide a too-neat summary of the British Columbia forest industry. This summary is exclusional and produces a particular effect, notably the annihilation of difference: Thus BC produced standard-dimension lumber, pulp, a small amount of newsprint, and not much else. Rewards for this simple trade in staples were so great that labour unions negotiated some of the highest production worker salaries on the continent. There is nothing incorrect about Marchak's summary; and it is widely accepted. But it is effective, in that some players and performances are included (corporations, unions), while others (such as small business, independent operators and family businesses) are omitted. The discourse of the hegemonic forestry regime does not provide a complete picture of British Columbia forest economies. Yet it claims to, and as such is a totalizing discourse which erases the possibilities of alternative practices. In later chapters I will demonstrate that instead of this hegemonic essence of 'the British Columbia forest industry', the forest industry can be viewed as a diversity of business structures and practices, some of which consist of capitalist economic forms, but others of which are 106 noncapitalist. Writing British Columbia forest economies, rather than 'the British Columbia forest industry' emphasizes the potentiality of these different practices, rather than placing them always at the margin. The corporate forestry which prevailed during the Fordist era was a monolith at the centre of British Columbia's economy and society. It showed all the alternatives to it - the woodlot owners, small businesses, communities, Native Bands that are referred to in alternative forestry - how to be small. With the breakdown of Fordism, and the restructuring in the forest industry, it seems likely that small business will play an increased role in the post-Fordist era of the British Columbia forest industry. How that role is foreseen depends on the theoretical lens of the viewer. In the next chapter, I explore two prevailing constructions of hinterland forest workers in the current era. One construction, found in Canadian political economy, maintains the 'small' position articulated by Sloan in 1956, albeit in a more flexible, post-Fordist form. The other, alternative forestry, posits hinterland small business squarely at the centre of the British Columbia forest industry, in a bioregional, communitarian framework. 107 5 REPRESENTING S M A L L BUSINESS IN THE H INTERLAND: CANADIAN POLITICAL E CONOMY AND ALTERNATIVE FORESTRY The story of the British Columbia forest industry described in Chapter Four maintains that the British Columbia forest industry is in transition. There are two predominant interpretations of this transition. One, Canadian political economy, foresees a 'more of the same but only worse' kind of post-Fordist restructuring. The second, alternative forestry21, envisions the British Columbia forest industry moving toward a new era of sustainability in the industry. In this chapter I review the theoretical bases of these two depictions of the current era in BC forestry, focusing particularly on the implicit and explicit representations of small businesses and their owners in 'resource communities'. Although these two interpretations share a common understanding of the Fordist era in forestry, their different perspectives of the current era are the result of different theoretical bents. Whereas the post-Fordist perspective on the British Columbia forest industry has its roots in Canadian political economy, the alternative forestry perspective results from a theoretical mixture of bioregionalism, communitarianism and deep ecology. Canadian political economy concerns itself more with analyses of existing or past economic development whereas alternative forestry is most often prescriptive and normative. In spite of this difference, the two literatures can be compared and contrasted for the discursive effects of their respective representations of forest workers and resource communities. The purpose of this chapter is to create a framework of analysis, drawn from the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures, for the case study described in Chapter Six. Using this framework of analysis, I investigate the extent to which either or both of these literatures reflect the 'reality' of small forest operators I interviewed in the Bulkley Valley. After I describe the case study and its results in Chapter Six, I return to 2 1 The literature refers to this as 'ecoforestry' as well. 108 re-assess the Canadian political economy and alternative forestry literatures in Chapter Seven, in light of both the case study results and the insights of the recent cultural turn in economic geography described in Chapter Three. 5.1 Canadian political economy Beginning with the staples approach developed by H.A. Innis and W. A. Mackintosh in the early part of this century, Canada's dependency on natural resources such as forests for economic development has been a central theme in Canadian political economy (Phillips 1997). As the Canadian economic landscape has changed so too has the understanding and approach taken by political economy theorists. In the following I outline the development of Canadian political economy, beginning first with the roots of Canadian political economy, then turning to the "new" Canadian political economy, which has incorporated a more explicit account of class in its framework of analysis. 5.1.1 Harold Innis and the staples approach One of the roots of Canadian political economy is the 'staples approach' developed from the 1920s onwards (Clement 1997:6). At the heart of a staples approach is the recognition of the important role played by natural resource exports in the development of Canada's economy. The staples approach has developed into two schools of thought which differ in important ways. One school of thought, crystallized in the work of Mackintosh (1923) applies conventional economic approaches to Canada's development as an export-based economy. Drache (1978) describes the "steady-progress view of Mackintosh" which suggests that ultimately an indigenous manufacturing sector would evolve out of an export-base. The other school of thought led by the work of Harold Innis (1930; 1954; 1956), argued that reliance on a staples-based export economy propels Canada into ever-increasing dependency. 109 The essence of the staples approach for both schools is that capital investment and inflows of labour to a new country (Canada) produce 'staples' - natural resource raw materials - which are then exported to 'metropolitan' countries for use in manufacturing (primarily Britain, then the U.S.). Where the schools differ most is in their treatment of the distribution of resource rents. Mackintosh, representing the mainstream economic treatment of resource economies at the beginning of the twentieth century, suggested that economic growth would occur in stages. Canada, according to this economic school of thought, would eventually develop forward and backward linkages from resource industries and evolve into a fully developed, manufacturing-based economy. Rents would be distributed by the market eventually leading to an equilibrium state for both centre and margin. Innis argued against this mainstream economic view that an export-based economy such as Canada's would inevitably develop linkages sufficient to sustain itself. While Innis was comfortable with the neoclassical treatment of developed countries at the centre (unlike later Canadian political economists, who rejected neoclassical economics), he felt a different approach was needed in recognition of the different local context in which 'margin' countries like Canada were operating. His recognition of Canada's unique situation sets him apart from his colleagues at the time. "Canadians are obliged", he wrote in 1956, fit their analysis of new economic facts into an old background. The handicaps of this process are obvious...resulting in a new form of exploitation with dangerous consequences. The only escape can come from an intensive study of Canadian economic problems and from the development of a philosophy of economic history or an economic theory suited to Canadian needs. (Innis 1956:3, cited in Barnes 1993:2) Innis' approach recognized the local and historical context of Canada's economic development. Canada's economy was dominated in its pre-industrial phase by commerce, finance and trade in staples. Modern industrialism in Europe, especially Britain, coincided with the discovery of Canada's vast reserves of staples. The timing of resource exploitation in Canada was such that large scale, mechanized extraction took place, creating a unique 110 position for Canada as a provider of raw materials without the social or economic context necessary to transform raw materials into manufactured products locally. Even though settlements in England and Europe were "profoundly influenced by modern industrialism", Innis felt they had "a continuity of life and organization" sufficient to counter the unsettling effects of industrialism. Settlement in western Canada and the new countries, on the other hand, occurred only for the purposes of modern industrialism in the core countries. "The significance of the cumulative tendency of industrialism and of the continuity of industrialism to Canada and the new countries is obvious. Canada has been able to produce on an increasingly large scale, on account of the essential advantages of machine industry, the raw materials for the industrialized countries" (Innis 1933:91). Canada, according to Innis, was perceived as a storehouse of resources, rather than a place of manufacture. Innis was conscious of the importance of geography in two ways - physically, for the unveiling of new staples, and in spatial relationships. The physical location of resources determined settlement patterns. Spatial relationships occur between the 'hinterland' as a deposit of resources, and the metropole, the manufacturing and service centre. Watkins (1989:20) describes the spatiality of a staples economy: It is helpful to be more explicit about the spatial dimension in two senses, namely, whether linkages are reaped at home or abroad and whether by domestic or foreign capital. The first issue is: how much production takes place locally, at the periphery, around the export-base? The second issue is: of that local production, how much is under control of local capitalists and how much under the control of external capitalists? The first issue is about the quantity of production and the extent of growth; the second is about the extent of indigenous ownership and control, that is the independence and maturity of the resulting capitalist development. The development (or not) of local linkages is key to understanding a staples economy. Innis disagreed with economists such as Macintosh who assumed that large resource rents and high rates of capital accumulation would lead to the development of a local manufacturing base. Rather, Innis argued that weak backward and forward linkages 111 at the periphery prevent transformation of a fully developed manufacturing economy. The very weakness of the linkages at the periphery contributes to a strong economy at the centre. Innis developed the concept of the 'staples trap' to describe the inability of raw material extraction to move Canada forward into a manufacturing-based economy. Although rates of capital accumulation are high in staples industries, these benefits tend to accrue to the owners of capital who have invested in the technology necessary to extract the staples resource. Initially British, then American investors saw no benefit in encouraging local linkages, preferring to bring in equipment and services as needed, and manufacturing final products 'at home'. "The pace of economic growth is determined externally, and its contours are distorted towards an unending quest to extract natural resources without capturing the beneficial linkages associated with their development" (Clement 1989:37-38). Innis argued that the Canadian economy did not, and would not, develop increasingly sophisticated linkages out of its natural resource base. Instead, these resources would be extracted until they were no longer in demand by the centre countries, or it could be found more cheaply elsewhere, or were depleted. As examples, Innis noted that".. .with the disappearance of beaver in more accessible territory, lumber became the product which brought the largest returns. In British Columbia gold became the product following the fur trade but eventually lumber and fish came into prominence" (Innis 1930). The cyclonics of these staples cycles were felt strongly in the 'hinterland' economies. Lack of diversification and reliance on a single resource, the demand for which was determined exogenously, heightened vulnerability to the 'booms' and 'busts' of commodity production. 112 5.1.2 The new Canadian political economy During the 1950s and 1960s, interest in Innis' staples approach receded as, ironically, Canadian thought was increasingly dominated by American social sciences (Marchak 1985:674). Regional deficiencies were thought to explain the relatively slow Canadian growth during this period, rather than external conditions such as foreign control and ownership of resources. However, by the early 1970s, the Canadian political economy tradition had experienced a revival focusing its attention on issues of dependency largely in response to US domination of Canadian culture and economy (Clement 1997:6). The new Canadian political economy emerged, then, "out of a meeting between left nationalism and the "old" Canadian political economy, especially the work of Harold Innis" (Jenson 1990; see also Drache and Clement 1985; Clement and Williams 1989). The renewed wave of interest in the 'new Canadian political economy' continued to interrogate the distribution of economic surplus among nations; but expanded this interrogation to consider the distribution of that surplus among classes as well (Clement 1989:39). Thus, it was "a marriage of Innis and Marx, of staples and class" (Watkins 1997:25). It was no longer focused just on what is produced, and where, but on the social relations of production and distribution of surplus value as well. In this way, class struggle within a resource-dependent, rather than a manufacturing-based, economy, was theorized. Albo and Jenson (1997:220) note the common characteristics contained within the new Canadian political economy school: Despite much historical debate and varying emphases in details, all adherents of the staples approach agree that the pace and form of development were determined by geographical possibilities and limitations, technological improvements, the division of labour, and, most crucially, the economic surplus generated by foreign demand for "resource-extensive exports", (this latter expression referring to Watkins (1963) While parallels were made between Canada's development and many 'third world' countries, it was also recognized that Canada had a unique position in that Canadians maintained a high standard of living while existing under conditions of uneven development. 113 Many Canadian political economists developed sectoral or regional interests, although nationalism and the role of the state remain central concerns (see for example, Clark-Jones 1987; Watkins 1997; Jenson 1991). More focused analyses of the heartland/hinterland relationship occurring within British Columbia have been written by Bradbury (1982), Ley and Hutton (1987), and Davis and Hutton (1989). Bradbury (1982:339) provides a detailed picture of British Columbia as "a staple hinterland for industrial markets throughout the world, yet...also a prosperous region, in which "urban places in the Georgia Strait region - notably Vancouver - constituted the core, while resource centres in the interior comprised a weakly articulated peripheral system" (ibid. p.346). Concern over uneven development has been a consistent theme in Canadian political economy. The new Canadian political economy merges a concern with uneven development with an interest in class. Most of the new Canadian political economic theorists recognize that class relations have developed differently in Canada than other countries, a difference explained in large part by its staples history. While the staple resource itself is part of that history, so is Canada's immigration history. Settlements patterns were strongly influenced by the nature of the staple, but local community and labour organization were equally influenced by who settled where. Phillips (1997) argues that repeated waves of ethnically differentiated immigration fragmented labor's 'historical consciousness'. Such a process combined with the isolated nature of work and labour control in the various staple industries often separated their work experience. As a result, labour consciousness was more often around a regional identity rather than a class one (Phillips 1997:70). 114 5.1.3 Resource Communit ies in Canadian political economy Settlement patterns were highlighted by many Canadian political economists concerned with the instability and dependency endemic in a staples economy. Beginning with Lucas (1971), a group of Canadian political economists focused on the problems found in hinterland resource communities created by industrial staples development. As described in Chapter Four, resource communities developed during the post-war period in British Columbia's hinterland in response to the changing needs of staples development. Large manufacturing facilities processing high-volume commodity goods such as construction lumber and pulp required a stable labour force. However, attracting and keeping this labour force proved difficult in the prosperous Fordist period. This led to a number of studies documenting social behavior and preferences in resource communities, for example Lucas (1971), Grey (1975), Siemens (1976), and Nickels (1976). Robinson (1984:3) provides a ..."shopping list" of the special problems which confronted] resource towns in Canada: . 1. Instability and, in many cases, impermanence - a fluctuating often boom or bust cycle of growth; 2. An unbalanced demographic structure (in both construction and operations phases); 3. Isolation- physical and psychological; 4. The provision and financing of affordable housing of different types and qualities and the financing of an adequate range of physical and social infrastructures; 5. The appropriate concepts and techniques to use in the physical planning of these towns, given their unique geographical locations, small size, uncertain future, etc.; 6. Social, ethnic and cultural problems; 7. Their governance: the allocation of responsibility for pre-planning, planning, financing, building and governance, among the different actors (company, local government, citizens, senior governments), and at different stages of a towns' growth and development. Attracting and maintaining a labour force was a concern for corporations. However, Canadian political economists were more interested in the impacts of industrialized staples extraction on the members of these resource communities. Although writers often focused on resource sectors in their work, they found remarkable similarities in the nature of settlements produced in the "economic landscape of capital accumulation and uneven 115 development" (Bradbury 1979). These included high wages for staples workers and low employment available outside the staples industry, few opportunities for diversification, rigid class structures with few opportunities for class mobility, gendered occupational segmentation, and limited educational and 'cultural' opportunities. Bradbury (1988:8) describes the "age-old problems so common to some company towns: to whit, the problem of labour turnover, male dominance of the social structure and company paternalism with its adverse effect of dependency between workers and the companies." Dependency and vulnerability are persistent themes in the literature on resource communities. Himelfarb (1982:17) notes that "the central "fact of life" in these communities is dependence". Porteous (1987:383) claims that company towns ...are now generally known as "single-enterprise communities", "one-industry towns" or even "little communities with big industries". These terms are merely euphemisms which mask the raw fact of high levels of dependence upon a single powerful corporation, (emphasis mine) Dunk notes that "people in resource hinterlands suffer the effects of the political and economic structures in which they are enmeshed. The narrow economic base is experienced as restricted job opportunities and vulnerability to cycles of boom and bust" (Dunk 1991:1). The result of a narrow economic base and dependency on one resource or even one company is, according to Canadian political economy, resource towns in which a cohesive sense of 'community' is lacking. Marchak (1991/92:362), in an article comparing forestry in the Kyoto prefecture of Japan with forestry in British Columbia, claims that Prince George and its smaller neighbouring towns are communities more in the sense of aggregations of individuals and companies than in the Japanese sense of people with shared cultures. Profits are paramount, divisions between interest groups are pervasive, and it is difficult to discern any consensus about the general welfare. She goes on to describe Mackenzie, an 'instant town' established in the mid-1960s: The town's population, entirely dependent on a single employer either as millworkers or as loggers on contract, does not constitute a community in the sense used to describe the Japanese towns of similar size. ...the essential ingredients of communities are missing. There is no public involvement in policy decisions, the 116 population has no shared history, there is still no independent business community to speak of, and internal divisions between strata of workers are endemic. The idea that the essential ingredients needed for 'community' are lacking in resource communities resonates throughout Canadian political economy analyses of resource communities (Lucas 1971; Bowles 1982; Marchak 1983; Porteous 1984). 5.1.4 Restructuring in the staples economy As described in Chapter Four, the problems of a boom and bust forest industry intensified following the recession of the early 1980s. A small group of analysts have examined this restructuring in the forest industry from a Canadian political economy perspective (Barnes and Hayter 1992, Barnes 1996, Marchak 1995). They incorporate recent theoretical contributions from economic geography and elsewhere into the new Canadian political economy in order to develop a better understanding of restructuring in a staples economy. As Graham (1992) makes clear, there are many, sometimes contradictory versions of 'post-Fordism'. I focus on interpretations of post-Fordism within the Canadian political economy tradition that help make sense of changes in labour processes within forest-dependent communities. I take from the very extensive literature on post-Fordism a fairly narrow focus on restructuring in the forest industry. Analysts of a post-Fordist version of recent changes in the forest industry focus primarily on changes occurring in the workplace, and the implications of these changes for communities and the provincial economy. Barnes and Hayter (1992:648) intertwine David Harvey's (1989) work on global capital with Innis' triad of technology, institutions and geography to provide a theoretical explanation of places such as Chemainus, British Columbia, that are "bound up with particular geographies of accumulation." Elsewhere they use Atkinson's labour segmentation theory to consider in-situ corporate restructuring and employment change within the forest sector (Hayter and Barnes 1992). Hayter and Holmes (1993) reinforce the 117 importance of Clark-Jones' (1987) work on continentalism in their study of the restructuring that has taken place at the MacMillan Bloedel facility at Powell River, British Columbia. Patricia Marchak (1995) situates British Columbia's forest industry within the context of a global forest industry. These analyses of restructuring suggest that the heartland/hinterland relationships described in earlier Canadian political economy work will be further entrenched as 'space-time compressions' take place in successively more rapid rounds of 'annihilation of space by time' globally. British Columbia, already vulnerable to the 'cyclonics' of capitalism, has been, and continues to be, deeply affected by the new regime of accumulation (Barnes and Hayter 1992). As described in Chapter Four, the forest industry has undergone significant restructuring, with accompanying losses in employment, beginning with the recession of the early 1980s. According to these Canadian political economists, corporate restructuring reinforces the vulnerability of resource communities. The extreme reliance (historically and presently) of the British Columbia forest industry on external markets contributes to an even greater vulnerability in the 'global economy'. Continued weakness with respect to backward and forward linkages and limited economic diversification leads to increased vulnerability for forest workers and communities. Institutional structures which were historically put in place to accommodate British Columbia's staples development now leave British Columbia poorly placed to address the rapidly shifting economic changes occurring worldwide. There is some evidence that restructuring will also reinforce the heartland/hinterland divisions recognized by earlier Canadian political economists. Rees and Hayter (1996) found that the growth of secondary wood processing industries which has taken place since the early 1980s has been concentrated geographically in urban areas of the province, primarily in the Vancouver metropolitan area. Davis and Hutton (1989:3) claim that 118 "increasingly, the economy of British Columbia is becoming divided between two distinct segments: the service-oriented urban economy of metropolitan Vancouver and the resource-based hinterland economy of the remainder of the province, particularly the interior of British Columbia." Flexibility is an important aspect of most accounts of restructuring within the Canadian political economy tradition. Following Atkinson (1985), Hayter and Barnes (1992) see labour flexibility occurring in two ways: functional and numerical flexibility. Atkinson argues that "...a new form of labour-market segmentation has arisen between a functionally flexible core labour force and a numerically flexible peripheral one" (Hayter and Barnes 1992:337). Functional flexibility occurs 'on the shop floor' within the core labour segment. Under Fordist production, economies of scale using low-skilled labour contributed to cost minimization. Under post-Fordist 'flexible specialization', skilled workers are able to undertake multiple functions. Flexibility may also be found numerically, through contracting out of tasks previously done 'in-house'. The evidence from studies of British Columbia's coastal forest industry suggest the development of new strategies of labour control that divide a functionally flexible core labour force from a numerically flexible peripheral one (Hayter, Grass and Barnes 1994). Hayter and Holmes (1994) note that when MacMillan Bloedel restructured its operations in Powell River and Pt. Alberni, its stated objective was to develop a smaller but more flexible workforce. Barnes, Hayter and Grass (1990) found that production workers at MacMillan Bloedel mills are part of the "primary subordinate segment" as defined by Doeringer and Piore (1971), with strong unions, job demarcation, hiring practices based on seniority, good wages, and good working conditions. They found that primary workers are not replaced by secondary workers (as would be suggested by Doeringer and Piore), but by changes in production technology. 119 At Chemainus, BC, for example, Barnes and Hayter (1992) found in the restructured sawmill that a considerably reduced workforce was re-trained to perform multiple tasks, with tests and incentives to ensure they understood the new manual. Some specialized tasks, such as dry kilning, were contracted out. Another important segment of the labour force which is not considered in these studies of the manufacturing process, but which is integral to the forest industry, is the labour process carried out in the logging industry. Marchak (1983, 1995 and 1999) describes the decreasing tendency, beginning in the late 1970s, for logging to be carried out by unionized company loggers. Instead, logging is contracted out to small business operators. Marchak claims that these arrangements create insecurity for logging contractors. Contracting out of work previously done by company employees creates numerical flexibility for the manufacturing firms, lowering costs through increased efficiency and ability to match equipment with logging conditions (Hayter 1999). Hayter argues there are two emergent strategies of 'value-added' in the British Columbia forest industry (Rees and Hayter 1996: 207-08). One is the in situ modernization through functional and numerical flexibility in large corporate manufacturers described above. The second is secondary wood processing by small to medium-sized enterprises, geographically concentrated in the Vancouver metropolitan area. This second type of flexibility is more in line with Piore and Sabel's (1984) interpretation of flexible specialization. A specialized small business sector is emerging which consists of "...interacting populations of small, specialized firms that compete and cooperate by flexibly deploying workers and equipment in response to highly differentiated and changing market demands (Rees and Hayter 1996:204). Drache (1991:257), however, says that the image of flexible specialization offered by Piore and Sabel and others is misleading. "It is difficult to judge whether the new work 120 relations constitute a principle of organization, such as Fordism was, or are simply a management strategy for obtaining immediate cost advantages. The fact that the new production methods are aimed primarily at reducing the costs of production raise serious doubts as to whether they are a new paradigm of workplace relations." Most post-Fordist Canadian political economy interpretations of the recent changes in the forest industry are more in line with Drache's observation, particularly in hinterland resource-dependent communities such as the ones discussed by Barnes and Hayter 1992, Hayter and Holmes 1993, and Marchak (1991/92). Most Canadian political economy interpretations of flexibility in the forest industry have found functional flexibility within the core workforce in large corporations, and numerical flexibility in the small businesses contracted by these corporations. A continuation of reduced forest-related employment, declining wage rates, weakening of union strength, and increasing uncertainty for forest-dependent communities are the predominant characteristics of the post-Fordist forest industry to emerge from this literature. Theoretical work on restructuring has contributed to a better understanding of the transition in the forest industry. However, they have not challenged, and in some cases, have reinforced particular representations of resource communities and hinterland forest workers. Reed (1995:339) expresses the opinion held by most Canadian political economists when she writes, "where hinterland communities are heavily dependent on a single resource for their well-being, economic circumstances become intertwined with the social character of these places. Family and community life are typically shaped by the conditions within resource communities." This description reflects the opinions of resource communities held by Canadian political economists describing the Fordist era, such as Marchak (1983:365): "the class structure and local culture [of forestry communities] are contemporary outcomes of the way industry is organized." Social and cultural 121 characteristics are read off economic circumstances. In the following section, I draw out these representations, particularly with respect to hinterland small businesses in resource-dependent, particularly forestry-dependent, communities. 5.1.5 Representations of forest workers (small forest operators) in Canadian political economy accounts of the British Columbia forest industry In the following three sections I summarize the environmental ethics, community values, and business structures and practices that would be anticipated to be held by small forest operators in hinterland resource communities, based on the Canadian political economy literature descriptions of the peripheral workforce in resource communities. In Table 11 I summarize these characteristics, and use them in the following chapter to attempt to classify small forest operators as either "conventional", i.e. conforming to the requirements of corporate forestry in an era of restructuring (as described by Canadian political economists), or "alternative", i.e. reflecting the values and practices of alternative, value-based eco-forestry. Environmental Ethic Canadian political economy has been remarkably silent on environmental issues. Concern for the nature of resource development, rather than the environment, has preoccupied Canadian political economists. Recently Glen Williams has argued for a "greening" of the new Canadian political economy (Williams 1992). However, the predominant theme throughout the Canadian political economy literature is that 'nature' is a resource to be exploited. "Regrettably, when it comes to being environmentally sensitive, the new Canadian political economy has more often reflected, than challenged, the conventional wisdom of popular discourse" (Williams 1992:16). More recently, Marchak (1998) has displayed a sensitivity to the ecological impacts of industrial forestry, and expressed some support of ecosystem-based forestry as articulated by 'the Victoria team' of Burda et al. (1998). This sensitivity has not, however, produce a 'green' Canadian political 122 economic analysis of the British Columbia forest industry. Rather, her concern with ecological sustainability leads her to the conclusion that "the most attractive possibility is that this province move away as rapidly as possible from forestry-based industry" (Marchak 1998:77). Williams attributes the lack of a green Canadian political economy to its "dependency and class theoretical frameworks" which emphasize distribution over production. Although Williams is critical of Canadian political economy's failure to address environmental concerns, he remains true to the modernist impulse of Canadian political economy when he argues that rational planning would ensure proper treatment of the environment. "...[T]he North American capitalist economy is ecohostile in the sense that it is antithetical to a rational, social planning for production and consumption which provides for the maintenance of harmonious relations with the natural environment" (Williams 1992:8). As described above, Canadian political economy has not focused on environmental issues. Rather, it has viewed 'nature' as a pool of resources which are extracted and used in production. The environmental impacts of extraction and production have not, by and large, been viewed as problematic. The distribution of resource rents and the impact of resource depletion as it leads to new rounds of extraction with accompanying social disruption, have been of greater concern to Canadian political economists . Canadian political economy shares with neoclassical economics an "exploitist" ethic toward the environment in which the extraction of resources is not problematic on ethical grounds. Concerns lie in other issues - profitability, health and safety of workers, equity, justice and so on, but not with questions about the rights of nature. Within this context, then, a small forest operator would be expected to accommodate resource extraction, abide by existing environmental regulations, but resist regulations that hinder production. 123 Community Values The community values of small forest operators can be read off the literature on resource communities. Marchak (1983, 1995) refers repeatedly to the dependence of contractors on large corporations. From this, I anticipated that small forest operators in the case study would be dependent on locally based corporations, and focus their loyalty to the corporation, rather than to the community. Furthermore, as Marchak (1983:362) puts it, resource communities "are communities more in the sense of aggregations of individuals and companies" so there would be no anticipated sense of belonging, involvement or permanence. Marchak writes, "...the essential ingredients of communities are missing. There is no public involvement in policy decisions, the population has no shared history, there is still no independent business community to speak of, and internal divisions between strata of workers are endemic" (ibid.). Thus small forest operators can be anticipated to leave planning and management of local resources in the hands of corporations and government, since they would feel no sense of involvement in planning processes. Business Structures and Practices Since conventional small forest operators are understood to perform according to the requirements of one large corporation as contractors, business practices would be in accordance to corporate needs. Equipment would be geared to high-volume, high-efficiency requirements, meeting environmental standards but not going beyond them in terms of ecological sensitivity when harvesting. Profit-maximization would be a business objective and preference would be given to equipment which improves 'productivity'; hence capital-intensive rather than labour-intensive practices would be preferred. Small businesses may be expected to provide numerical flexibility to major corporations by carrying out the logging required prior to the manufacturing process 124 (Marchak 1995). They may also be contracted to perform specialized functions for major corporations such as dry kilning, as was found in the Chemainus case by Barnes and Hayter (1992). 5.2 Value-Based Alternative Forestry ...[T]he British Columbia forest economy needs to move in the direction of an "alternative" economy. This is not an accidental term. Forestry "alternatives" are but one part of a holistic shift in our centralized structures, such as a shift being best explicated by the so-called "alternatives movement" encompassing sectors as diverse as "alternative energy" and "alternative health". (M'Gonigle 1997:45) Alternative forestry, also called alternative forestry economic development and ecoforestry, merges general community economic development principles with concerns about the ecologically integrity of the forests (Banighen 1997). The focus in this dissertation is on the alternative forestry literature in British Columbia, but there is also a strong interest in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States (see Lynch and Talbot 1995, cited in Burda et al. 1998). On both sides of the border, there are strong activist communities concerned with alternative forestry as well. In prescriptive terms22, alternative forestry calls for a shift from volume-based to value-based economy, from capital-intensive to labour-intensive modes of production, and from central (corporate and bureaucratic) to community-based forms of management and control (M'Gonigle 1997). This literature suggests that community-based management of the resource will occur through a variety of arrangements, Community Forest tenures is one, woodlot licenses and a modified Small Business Forest Enterprise Program are others (Burda et al. 1997).23 At the root of these prescriptions is a philosophy based on deep ecology, bioregionalism and communitarianism, combined with a preference for entrepreneurial 2 2 The alternative forestry literature is written largely in prescriptive terms. The prescriptions which follow are the alternative forestry literatures, not mine. 125 economic forms and a deep distrust of large structures of any kind, whether in government, corporations or labour. "Value-added" and a focus on quality bring these beliefs together into a coherent system of thinking 2 4. A shift to eco-forestry, which necessitates a significant reduction in timber volume, entails the maximization of value in order to sustain local economies and employment. By maintaining old-growth forests through careful stewardship, and by fostering a diverse value-added manufacturing sector, communities can enjoy the forest's benefits in perpetuity. Eco-forestry offers a workable technical alternative to industrial forestry. (Burda et al. 1998:52) 5.2.1 Deep Ecology and Bioregionalism Alternative forestry has its philosophical grounding in deep ecology (Drengson and Taylor 1997). Deep ecologists believe that non-human nature has inherent rights independent of their instrumental value to humans (Devall and Sessions 1985; Naess 1991). Thus, they emphasize the aesthetic and spiritual values of the forest. Kirpatrick Sale (1988), one of deep ecology's most ardent advocates, writes that "(l)ife, human and non-human, has value in itself independent of human purposes, and humans have no right to reduce its richness and diversity except for vital needs." Bill Devall (1997:276) claims that "love, commitment, compassion, ecological understanding—all of these inform the ecosophy of an ecoforester." The "Oath of Ecologically Responsible Forest Use" begins with "we shall respect, hold sacred, and learn from the ecological wisdom (ecosophy) of natural forests with their multitudes of beings" (Drengson and Taylor 1997:275). Some ecoforesters draw fairly drastic prescriptions from this moral code: First, we should eat the food that grows on our land, as much as possible, and only sell or barter the surplus to acquire what we can't grow. Second, we should grow and process our own fuelwood, posts, poles, logs, and lumber, again selling or bartering only the surplus to provide for our other needs. If we can make more of the products we need, such as cheese and furniture, both product diversity and natural efficiency Community forests are not pursued in this dissertation. See Mitchell-Banks 1999 for a history of community forests in British Columbia and the current debate over their feasibility. 2 4 Hayter (1999, in progress) makes an important, and often missing observation, when he notes that "...strictly speaking, all manufacturing is value-adding, ...the tendency in B C [is] to think of value added activities as essentially non-commodity based production." 126 will increase. This will promote economic stability in our homes and lower our impact on the surrounding ecosystem. (Drescher 1997:58) In this literature, alternative forest workers are felt to minimize the impacts of their actions on the forest by using only appropriate, low-impact technology practices (Drengson and Taylor 1997:275). Appropriate technology provides both environmental and social benefits. "Low-impact technologies are labor-intensive, and thus create more work and jobs, have positive benefits for local economies, and increase the prosperity and stability of rural communities" (Drengson and Stevens 1997: 71). For harvesting, this means adjusting practices to best suit the ecological requirements of the area. Production of wood products (which is only one of the many forest products recognized under alternative forestry, others include medicinal plants, mushrooms, decorative grasses) requires a shift from a volume-oriented industry to a value-oriented industry (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994). This means attempting to produce, within the limits of ecological sustainability, the most from each unit of resource. This is not done only for the pursuit of the best return; it is considered an ethical responsibility to make the best use of anything removed from the forest. Alternative forestry adapts many of the precepts of ecology, such as energy flows and the interconnectivity of natural communities as described in Eugene Odum's Fundamentals of Ecology (1971). These ecological precepts are put into a spatial context through "bioregionalism". Walter (1997:294) defines bioregionalism as "the healthy coexistence and interdependence of human communities with natural communities within an ecosystem..." and notes that "practically, bioregions are often identified with watersheds." Alternative forestry's goal in a bioregional approach is a "healthy, natural ecosystem", which in turn promotes healthy human communities. Actions can be judged according to the extent to which they contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, while staying within the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. For this reason, small-scale 'appropriate' technology is favoured. Bioregionalism, then, is a way of connecting a deeply felt 127 connection to the non-human world with a deeply felt connection to the human world. This latter connection is expressed through communitarianism. 5.2.2 Communitarianism Communitarianism "...assumes a moral community, where "we ought to give equal consideration to the interest of everyone who will be affected by our conduct (Rachels, 1993:186, cited in Walter 1997:293, emphasis in original). Walter identifies some practical communitarian tools as "joint decision making, stakeholder participation, public participation, non-governmental organizations, and networking" (ibid.). For practical purposes, community is usually defined by settlements or regions, although it is recognized that the moral community extends far beyond these artificial boundaries. Unlike the transient communities depicted by Canadian political economy, alternative forestry is strongly place-based and 'people-based' (Simpson 1997). Recurrent themes are democratization, community control, commitment to place, consensus building. Simpson (1997:212-13) writes that localization is democratic control of local resources and services by those who have commitment to place and community: the residents...People-based, localized forestry, practiced under guidelines that guarantee ecological and social responsibility, is a better economic deal than control of forest lands by governmental and corporate powers. Certainly it is a better deal for communities. Community control is assumed to be beneficial. "When local people are more in control of the decisions that affect their lives, they will be more likely to take care of the local environment" (Taylor and Wilson 1993). Simpson writes that Our commitment to place within a larger region in common can inspire our sense of majesty and respect for [an area]. Once we leap to an identity with place and region, other elements will fall into perspective. Once we become responsible citizens of a region, rural and urban, our respect for the land unites and motivates us. (Simpson 1997:213-14) Consensus building is prescribed as the best means of democratically managing the local resource. Community forest boards are usually put forward as the mechanism for local democratic decision-making. While there are no consistent definitions for these 1 2 8 community forest boards, proposals usually include defining the 'community' based on watershed boundaries, with a combination of elected and appointed members from within this area. It is understood that community forest boards "can best protect the wide range of forest economic and environmental values" (Taylor 1997:303). 5.2.3 Entrepreneurialism A preference for entrepreneurialism is more often stated implicitly rather than implicitly, perhaps because of the connotations of entrepreneurialism with capitalism, which by and large, alternative forestry opposes. Entrepreneurialism is situated within the context of a bioregional and communitarian society, and thus is constrained by the tenets laid out above - respect for all living things, focus on quality, and a democratization and decentralization of economic and political processes. Hence, the entrepreneurial economy of alternative forestry is considerably different than that of mainstream capitalist economies. Alternative forestry advocates competitive log markets and performance-based eco-certification for forest products which will facilitate the development and marketing of community-based businesses. M'Gonigle and Parfitt envision the possibility of a market economy, but one based in local small businesses, not multinational corporations. Small business is at the forefront of what M'Gonigle and Parfitt call the 'new forest economy': "whether it's woodlot owners or furniture makes, small businesses are the underpinning of the emerging new value economy" (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994:73). Small businesses are important for the alternative forestry vision for a number of reasons. It is assumed that many small businesses will provide diversity, hence hedging the community against economic instability (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994). It is also assumed that many small businesses will employ more people than one big company (Hammond 1997:203). 129 B u s i n e s s e s shou ld deve lop networks with other local smal l b u s i n e s s e s , rather than buy f rom or sel l to external ly -based compan ies that do not support the communi ty . E c o -forestry often entai ls a 'family' approach to bus iness , often with actual family members , but a lso treating emp loyees a s part of a t eam, much more than units of product ion. "L ike the family fa rm, si lviculture is largely a job for sweat equity and landed s tewards" (M 'Gon ig le and Parfitt 1994:65) . H a m m o n d (1997:138) desc r ibes the " . . .meaningful employment rather than short- term jobs" which will be part of an alternative forest economy . It is general ly acknow ledged that w a g e s will be lower in the new value economy , but meaningfu l employment is a s s u m e d to be preferred to high w a g e s . For examp le , family woodlots , one of the smal l bus iness opportunit ies advoca ted , a re feas ib le only b e c a u s e the family would not s e e k remunerat ion for their work, but this type of work fits into the deep eco logy and communi tar ian bel iefs of alternative forestry. M 'Gon ig le and Parfitt (1994:64) cite J a c k Bakewe l l : "I don't think you c a n grow t rees economica l ly , in this latitude with incremental silvi lculture us ing union and contract labour. A woodlot l i censee with his family will donate a lot of t ime, and they s e e someth ing down the l ine." 5.2.4 Representations of forest workers (small forest operators) in alternative forestry accounts of the British Columbia forest industry In the fol lowing three sect ions I summar i ze the envi ronmenta l eth ics, communi ty va lues , and bus iness structures and pract ices that would be ant ic ipated to be held by smal l forest operators in hinterland resource communi t ies , b a s e d on the alternative forestry literature descr ip t ions of the per ipheral workforce in resource communi t ies . A normative tone is used to reflect the alternative forestry literature. In Tab le 11 I s u m m a r i z e these character is t ics, and use them in the fol lowing chapter to attempt to c lass i fy smal l forest operators a s either "convent ional" , i.e. conforming to the requi rements of corporate forestry in an e ra of restructuring (as descr ibed by C a n a d i a n political economis ts ) , or "alternative", i.e. reflecting the va lues and pract ices of alternative, va lue -based eco-forestry. 1 3 0 Environmental Ethic Stewardship is clearly a strong ethical theme throughout the work on alternative forestry (see Hammond 1997, Duncan and Taylor 1993). This implies acceptance of regulations which protect the environment, as well as a sense of duty which may go beyond these regulations. It involves a risk-averse approach to 'sustainability'; if there were uncertainty over the ecological impact of an action such as logging, then the preference would be to wait until further information is available. A stewardship ethic of taking only what is needed from the forest and making the most from it, is at the heart of alternative forestry. However, this stewardship is not only about efficiency. Alternative forestry practitioners feel a strong emotional connection to the forest and to the local natural community as well. Community Values The alternative forestry literature describes forest workers committed to the local human community as well as the natural community. From this, alternative small forest operators were anticipated to support the local economy. They would prefer to hire locally in order to support the community. As well, they should attempt to deal with local firms, rather than firms outside of their community. Small firms would be preferred as customers and suppliers, rather than large corporations, because of the inherent belief of alternative forestry practitioners that 'small is beautiful', as well as their distrust of centrist, corporatist entities. Alternative small forest operators should believe in decentralized decision-making. Accordingly, they would be involved in local planning and believe that local democratic decisions will result in the best use of local resources. 1 3 1 Business Structures and Practices Size of business is an important consideration, and small is indeed beautiful for alternative forestry practitioners I25. In alternative forestry, environmental sustainability must be assured above all else. For small forest operators, then, the overriding emphasis of business activities would be the protection of ecological values, then on ensuring community and personal 'lifestyle' values, and lastly, on revenues or profitability. Harvesting must respect biodiversity, forest regeneration, and so on. Equipment should be low-impact such as horselogging or small skidders. Processing should achieve maximum value from the resource, minimizing resource extraction/depletion and maximizing employment. Manufacturing should based on adding maximum value, using labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive equipment. Wages may be less, but this would be compensated for by a sense of 'belonging', by family ownership in the company or a team approach to production. 5.3 Conclusions and Framework for Analysis In this chapter I have explored the theoretical foundations for the two depictions of the current era in the British Columbia forest industry found in Chapter Four - the post-Fordist account, which can be traced back to the new Canadian political economy, and the alternative forestry interpretation, which has its roots in bioregionalism, deep ecology and communitarianism. These two schools of thoughts share some common ground, particularly in their interpretation of the past development of the British Columbia forest industry. Within The ideas from E.F. Schumacher's (1973) Small is Beautiful resonate throughout the alternative forestry literature. 132 alternative forestry, for example, the 'Victoria team' of alternative forestry practitioners shares the Canadian political economy approach when they describe the process in which Geographically, what might be called "industrial centralism" is supported by resource flows from the hinterland to the heartland; politically, these flows are backed by a system of corporate/bureaucratic decision-making that concentrates authority at the top. (Burda et al. 1998:53) But M'Gonigle explains elsewhere that "what is proposed here builds on, but is more than a modification of, [staple] theory" (M'Gonigle 1997:39). M'Gonigle rejects the marginalization of the hinterland implicit in the terminology of centre-periphery, and proposes a "territorial model" based on bioregionalism as an alternative. There are key differences between the two schools of thought despite this common ground. Canadian political economy focuses analytically on issues of industry concentration, changes in the labour process and the impacts this has on resource communities. While Canadian political economists are aware of changing public values with respect to environment, they almost never engage with environmentalism analytically. Alternative forestry practitioners, on the other hand, are most concerned with environmentalism and changes in local resource management, particularly how these trends can be implemented in resource communities. While alternative forestry practitioners are critical of corporate and industrial restructuring in the forest industry, they do not engage analytically with these issues. Alternative forestry entails a very different relationship with the natural environment than the one understood within Canadian political economy. "In its fullest sense, a territorial community includes not only the human community, but the natural community; not only present inhabitants, but future generations. Continuity with such a whole context is what community is all about" (Burda et al. 1998:55). This type of cohesive community, drawing on a gemeinshaft conception of community (cf. Tonnies 1957), is a "natural, tradition-based, essentially rural, community in 133 which people feel bonded together" (Boothroyd 1991, cited in Rowson 1997:27). This type of community is almost inconceivable within Canadian political economy. More prevalent is the view expressed by Marchak (1991/92:362 and described earlier in the chapter of resource communities " the sense of aggregations of individuals and companies..." Whereas Canadian political economy is concerned with a region's or a nation's position in international and regional flows of trade and resources, alternative forestry focuses on a very local scale. Alternative forestry advocates community boundaries based on "bioregionalism" to re-establish circular flows of wealth at the community level. They assume this will ensure an equitable local distribution of wealth. Canadian political economy is also concerned about the distribution of wealth, but at a national or regional scale, focusing on analysis of trade within and between political boundaries, and with far more emphasis on the distribution of wealth between classes. Alternative forestry, conversely, is almost classless - it is assumed that a combination of local entrepreneurship and communitarian values will ensure equity. There is a strong moral tone within the alternative forestry literature, particularly with respect to 'the good life' which North Americans have been pursuing: North Americans are now at a juncture in their history when they are finally beginning to realize that they are living far beyond their economic and environmental means. We have become wealthy because we have been recklessly converting natural wealth into financial capital, but at a cost which is unsustainable. (Drengson and Taylor 1997:31) This is not a part of Canadian political economy, which tends to focus more on how resource communities have been deprived of 'the good life' through lack of amenities and isolation from urban centres. The ways in which the two schools of thought construct small forest operators are summarized Table 11, with three important areas of interest: environmental ethic, community values, and business practices. Table 11: Summary of Representations of small forest operators in Canadian political economy and Alternative Forestry 134 Environmental Ethic Community Values Bus iness Practices Conventional exploitist approach dependent on large • equipment is operators: to land: nature as corporation geared to production Canadian political resource • dependent on and efficiency economy • accepts existing company for work • emphasis is on cut allocations as • not preferential to profit-maximization sustainable local hiring • capital-intensive • resists regulation • deals only with practices preferred which hinders major corporation in • volume-based production local area production • believes that majors and government can determine best use of resources • not involved in planning activities Alternative Operators: • values nature: • places priority on equipment is Alternative value-based makes the best use local economic environmentally-forest economy of the available activities sensitive and low-resource • hires locally impact • risk-averse • deals with local • emphasis is on approach to small firms lifestyle rather than sustainable forestry • believes that local profits • supports regulation decisions will reflect • labour-intensive which protects the best use of the practices are environment resource preferred • is involved in local • value-based planning production These two representations can be imagined as a centre/margin duality, with the conventional operator functioning as part of the central account of the British Columbia forest industry, and the alternative operator functioning on the margins. My exploration of small forest operators values in Chapter Six, then, is part of my exploration of the 'centre and the margins' of the British Columbia forest industry. 135 6 POSITIONING S M A L L BUSINESS IN THE H INTERLAND: INTERVIEWS WITH S M A L L FOREST O PERATORS IN THE B U L K L E Y V A L L E Y This chapter summarizes the results of my empirical exploration of small forest operators in the hinterland of British Columbia, focusing on research questions one and two described in Chapter One: Do small forest operators provide labour flexibility for a restructured/restructuring corporate forest industry as they are represented in the post-Fordist Canadian political economy perspective? Or Do small forest operators function as part of a community-based alternative to corporate forestry as they are represented in the value-based alternative forestry perspective? The chapter is set out in three sections, to reflect the key areas of importance in representations of forest workers in the literature: environmental ethic, community values, and business practices of small forest operators. The methodology used to analyze data from the interviews was described in Chapter One. The interview data are compared with the representations of conventional and alternative operators, as outlined in Table 7 developed in Chapter Five. In section 6.2, environmental ethics are considered, and in section 6.3 community values are examined. In section 6.4 I evaluate the business practices of small forest operators, to determine if there is consistency between the practices described in the literature, and actual practices of my respondents in the Bulkley Valley. I conclude with a summary of conventional and alternative operator characteristics. 6.1 Type of Business As A Classification of Operators To begin the analysis of small forest operators' values, I used type of business as an 'entry point'. That is, I classified small forest operators as either 'conventional' or 'alternative', based on their type of business. This approach reflects the practice in both Canadian political economy and alternative forestry to identify workers through the technology they use. In alternative forestry, horse loggers, woodlot licensees, and small value-added manufacturing facilities or other 'value-added' producers use low-impact, 136 "value"-maximizing technologies (M'Gonigle and Parfitt 1994; Burda et al. 1997; Burda et al. 1998). In Canadian political economy accounts, highly mechanized technologies are used by small business loggers to provide numerical flexibility in the corporate system of forestry (Marchak 1983; 1995)26. In both literatures, then, operators are highly identified with the types of technologies used in their businesses. Using this preliminary classification, two groups emerge, one of 32 conventional operators, and one of 36 alternative operators. The following table summarizes forest operators into "Conventional" and "Alternative", based on their type of business. Table 12: Summary of Types of Businesses - Conventional and Alternative Operators Types of Business: Conventional Operators Number of Operators Logging - contract: Owns complete or near-complete set of 20 equipment for stump-to-dump logging Owns a range of equipment used to sub-contract 4 Specializes in one aspect of conventional logging, e.g. skidding, 7 falling, road building Does not own equipment 1 Total 32 Types of Business: Alternative Operators Number of Operators Logging - horse 9 Logging - cable 1 Woodlot licensee 11 Manufacturer (primary only) 5 Manufacturer (secondary only) 2 Manufacturer (primary and secondary) 4 Log home builders 2 Cabinet makers/wood workers 2 Total 36 Operators interviewed were almost evenly divided within communities with respect to types of business - with Smithers being the only town having significantly more alternative operators (13) interviewed than conventional! (9). Table 13 summarizes types of operations by community. As noted in Chapter Five, writers such as Rees and Hayter (1996) have found evidence of functional flexibility within flexibly special ized small firms, but not in the context of resource communities, nor using a Canadian political economy framework explicitly. Where flexible specialization is discussed in resource communities, it is either to observe functional flexibility within a core labour force within corporations, or in normative terms such as Walter (1997), much more in keeping with alternative forestry. For these reasons, small manufacturing firms are classified as alternative rather than conventional for the purposes of this study. 137 Table 13: Conventional and Alternative Operators by Community Community The Hazeltons Smithers and area Burns Lake and area Houston and area 9 9 11 3 Conventional Alternative 8 13 12 3 Total 17 22 23 6 6.1.1 A General Profile of Operators Interviewed (Conventional and Alternative) Most operators were 45 years of age or older, with conventional operators slightly older on average, but with more alternative operators in the 45 plus age group (53% of alternative operators versus 47% conventional operators). 66 were male; 2 were female. I did not request information regarding ethnicity; however, all but three informants were white and of European ancestry. The Bulkley Valley is known to have a high percentage of German and Dutch , as well as Anglo settlers; this was reflected in the operators I interviewed. Three Native contractors were interviewed. The mean annual household income, as provided by interviewees, was $62,448 for alternative operators, and $59,814 for conventional operators. These incomes are considerably higher than the average household income figures for the Bulkley Valley, which were $36,045 in 1997 (BC Stats 1998).27 The majority of both conventional and alternative operators were married with children living at home (66%). 27% were married but with no children living at home. Only one interviewee was a single parent, and only four were unmarried. 65% of conventional and 54% of alternative operators had lived in the Bulkley Valley most of their lives. An additional 13% of conventional and 27% of alternative operators had lived half their life in the Bulkley Valley, and half in another part of Canada or another country. 4 respondents These income figures are as provided by interviewees, and, as one interviewee pointed out to me, reflect incomes earned by small business owners, which in most cases would not include any employment benefits. 138 had lived most of their life in another country. In other words, the majority of respondents were solidly 'local'. There was a wide range of education levels. Alternative operators had, on average, higher education levels than conventional operators. Ten percent of conventional operators had some elementary schooling, but had not graduated Grade 8. 53% had completed high school, and of these, 9% had gone on to post-secondary education, although none had completed a degree. All alternative operators had at least Grade 8, 11% did not have more than Grade 8. Thirty-one percent had completed high school, but had not gone further. An additional 33% had gone on to post-secondary education, with 25% of alternative operators completing a post-secondary program. Conventional and alternative operator profiles are outlined in Table 14. Table 14: Summary of Conventional and Alternative Operator Demographic Profiles Conventional Alternative • 45 years of age and older 47% 53% • Male 100% 95% • European ancestry 91% 100% • Household Income $59,815 $62,448 • Married with children 68% 64% • Long-time resident (at least 63% 53% half of life) of the Bulkley Valley • Some or completed post- 10% 33% secondary education Apart from income and education levels, both of which were higher in the alternative operator group, the demographic profile is quite similar for both groups. 6.2 Environmental Ethic In Chapter Five I defined three areas of environmental concern which summarize the explicit and implicit values which are ascribed to conventional and alternative forest operators in the literature: issues of environmental stewardship, attitudes toward environmental regulations, and attitudes toward environmentalists. 139 Environmental Ethic Conventional operators: Canadian political economy • accepts existing cut allocations as sustainable • exploitist approach to land: nature as resource • resists regulation which hinders production • not involved in planning activities Alternative Operators: Alternative value-based forest economy • places priority on local economic activities • values nature: makes the best use of the available resource • risk-averse approach to sustainable forestry • supports regulation which protects the environmentin local planning These representations are evaluated using results from interviews with 32 conventional and 36 alternative operators. 6.2.1 Environmental Stewardship In the survey questionnaire I included "opinion" statements about environmental stewardship, and asked operators to what extent they agreed or disagreed with these statements. Statements relating to environmental stewardship are listed in Table 15 along with the percentage of conventional and alternative operators who agreed or disagreed with these statements. 140 Table 15: Summary of Responses Demonstrating Attitudes Towards Environmental Stewardship Operators who agreed (%) Conv. Altern. t value Sig. The BC forest industry is environmentally sustainable 75 73 0.22 0.826 Major licensees are better stewards of the local environment 32 11 0.66 0.511 The environmental performance of the BC forest industry would be improved if there were more independent operators 50 46 0.27 0.791 Independent operators have better knowledge of the local environment than corporate managers 73 67 1.23 0.225 Independent operators have better knowledge of the local environment than government bureaucrats 77 90 1.82 0.075 7 5 % of conventional and 7 3 % of alternative operators agreed with the statement that "the BC forest industry is environmentally sustainable" (see Table 15). This statement did not elicit much in the way of commentary; I sensed that in many cases interviewees were not comfortable tackling such an enormous question. For example after I read out this statement, there would be a pause, and the respondent would say "oh, well, ya, I suppose...". This was similar to responses to questions about the Annual Allowable Cut (discussed below). Whereas questions regarding Forest Practices Code or environmentalists or major corporations usually had an immediate and emphatic response, issues such as the long-term future of the industry, or the sustainability of the cut, seemed to be 'off-limits'. Several interviewees expressed the view that they would need more information to assess the situation, and that scientists were better qualified to address these concerns. I found this interesting, given the many, many comments throughout the interviews which illustrated their lack of faith in Ministry of Forests scientists. 141 The statements "independent operators have better knowledge of the local environment than corporate managers" and "independent operators have better knowledge of the local environment than government bureaucrats" (see Table 15) were, not surprisingly, received favorably, and elicited many off-the-cuff remarks about government workers, such as "oh, everybody's got better knowledge than the Ministry of Forests!" Even though people were quick to agree with these statements, it was often acknowledged that it depended on individuals. "It depends on who's the manager, and if the contractor is local or not"; "operators have about as much knowledge as field personnel [in Ministry of Forests], but more than the managers". There were fewer derisive comments made about corporate managers, although skepticism remained. For example, one conventional logger commented in response to the second statement, that "it depends on the person, but multinationals are particularly a problem. They don't have any concept of stewardship, profit is the bottom line, and then they're out of here". Half of respondents disagreed with the statement that "major licensees are better stewards of the local environment than small business owners". 27% neither agreed nor disagreed, and usually indicated that it would depend on the individuals involved. 21% agreed with this statement; with more conventional operators (32%) agreeing than alternative operators (10%). However, those who agreed with the statement did not ascribe any kind of altruistic motive for stewardship. As one person put it "they have to be, and they have the money and staff to do it". Some interviewees, when answering the question, commented on the waste associated with current corporate forestry practices, both in logging and in the mills. For many, this was an enormous source of frustration. They said they were unable to secure timber, for example, for a small portable mill, yet they drove by thousands of cubic metres of 142 wood which they claim is "wasted", for example, blowdown and (potential) thinnings. Some talked of being sickened by the wasteful practices which they were 'forced' to conduct as contractors. One operator, who had recently started a business to utilize waste wood, said of the local mill, "they won't let me take junk wood; they would rather have it burned or get chipped". Another interviewee, who had rejected conventional logging in favour of selective methods, criticized the waste in the woods. He claimed that it is the 'frontier mentality' in British Columbia which leads to waste. In the alternative forestry literature, there is often an implicit relationship between small business and environmental performance; the assumption is that small, local businesses are inherently more concerned about the local environment. So, I asked small operators if they agreed with the statement "the environmental performance of the BC forestry industry would be improved if there were more independent operators". Slightly less than half (48%) the interviewees agreed. As one interviewee put it, small operators are "closer to the gun barrel;" in other words, more likely to notice and be affected by environmental deterioration. However, 36% of alternative operators, and 21% of conventional operators, neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement. "Being small doesn't equal being benign", noted one alternative operator, "for example, he (sic) could be highly mechanized or a horse logger". Another alternative operator felt that more small businesses in the industry would improve environmental performance, but only if they were carefully monitored, suggesting that small businesses are not in and of themselves preferable on environmental grounds. A conventional operator expressed a similar view: "unless there's a real police force to make sure people are following the code, they'll go back to how it was". 143 6.2.2 Environmental Regulation Table 16 provides a summary of responses to questions regarding environmental regulations. Forest Practices Code The Forest Practices Code had been introduced the year prior to interviewing, and remained a topic of heated debate and much ire. When asked, "has your firm been affected by the Forest Practices Code?", 65% of conventional respondents, and 69% of alternative operators, said they had been affected. Increased costs of operation including shutdowns (13 conventional and 7 alternative operators), paperwork (2 conventional and 5 alternative operators) and difficulty dealing with the Ministry of Forests compliance staff (5 conventional and 4 alternative operators) were all given as some of the negative effects of the Forest Practices Code. Twelve operators (6 conventional and 6 alternative) mentioned the additional stress and worry that the Forest Practices Code has caused. For many, these regulations have had a serious impact on their approach to business in the woods. "People are scared" is the way one horse logger put it. Another told me he had transferred all his assets to his wife for fear of losing everything. A conventional operator told me he had not been directly affected by the Forest Practices Code, yet he spent considerable time describing the "police mentality" of the Code; that the constant threat of fines or even jail has had a big impact on his life. Not everyone I talked to was worried about the Forest Practices Code; for two operators the impact of the Forest Practices Code had been positive in that it brought more work their way. 144 Table 16 : Summary of Responses Demonstrating Attitudes Towards Environmental Regulations Operators who agreed (% Conv. Altern. Chi-Sq. Sig. Firm has been affected by the FPC 65.5 69.0 .07827 0.77965 Forest Practices Code is useful legislation 74.2 72.7 .21530 0.64265 Allowable cut set at a reasonable level 65.4 48.0 2.71309 0.09953 Given the strong resistance of 'the British Columbia forest industry' to the introduction of the Forest Practices Code expressed by industry groups such as the Council of Forest Industries (COFI), I anticipated that conventional operators who are strongly entrenched in the system would share this resistance. Surprisingly, a solid majority of both conventional and alternative operators felt that the Forest Practices Code was useful (see Table 16), although many also referred to the excessive paperwork and red tape for which it is now famous. Oftentimes operators expressed the idea that there was a minority of 'bad' operators for whom the Code was necessary. A woodlot licensee and I had the following discussion around the Forest Practices Code: EB: Do you think it's (the Forest Practices Code) useful legislation? GN: That's a good question. I think it's been useful in some operations, I think bringing certain operations up to speed with what's going on has been useful. But my guess is most of the operations that I'm familiar with anyway, were doing not a bad job pre-Code. EB: Hmm. So overall would you say that bringing those minority operations up to speed justifies the Code? GN: Hmm. That's a tough question to answer. I don't know what the answer is. I mean, if you can help save one disaster on the Coast, is that worth it? Is that worth it? I don't know. I mean, one huge landslide down there can be pretty devastating, to fish streams, and - overall, I don't mind the concept - even if it just gives the people out there a warmer and fuzzier feeling about what's happening in the forest, then that's OK too. If that's what it takes, if they think that those huge fines or whatever are going to make a difference - and I'm sure they do have people stand up and take notice, I mean, we stand up and take notice too! At say 3 million dollars, or especially that 6 month jail stuff (laughs) - you know, that makes somebody stand up and take note.28 Of those who thought the Code was useful, many qualified it with a "yes, but..." comment. Almost half the conventional operators added a qualifier to their support of the 145 Code, while fewer alternative operators qualified their response. Most of these qualifying responses referred to the Code going too far, or to excessive administrative red tape. Interviewees would often go into detail about interactions they had had with enforcement officers from the Ministry of Forests, revealing the operators' frustration with what they perceived as inflexibility and lack of common sense. I found it surprising that in both conventional and alternative groups, there were so few expressing the view that the FPC was not useful (23% of the conventional operators, and 12% of the alternatives). Almost all those who thought it was not useful, said that the required regulations were already in place and simply needed to be better enforced. Thus the anticipated resistance to environmental protection which hinders business did not surface. Rather, their resentment was toward 'bungling bureaucracy', although one disgruntled interviewee said about the FPC: "it's completely useless. They don't have a clue about logging". Annual Allowable Cut I asked interviewees if they felt the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) was set at a reasonable level in their district (see Table 16). I asked this in order to gain a sense of where they stood regarding the ecological sustainability of the current forest regime; for example, if they felt the forest was being overcut, or if they felt environmental pressures were infringing on the amount government would allow to be cut. 65% of conventional, and 48% of alternative operators agreed that the AAC is at a reasonable level (see Table 16).29 I found it interesting that while I received a wide range of comments about the Annual Allowable Cut, not one operator considered it too low - there were many recommendations 281 found it interesting that GN felt the Code might avert a disaster 'on the Coast', 'down there'. Apparently he was not concerned about the possibility of ecological disasters resulting from forestry practices closer to home. 146 to reduce it, redistribute it, or get rid of the 'rotten wood' included in its profile, but no one mentioned increasing it. This suggests to me that there is recognition among both alternative and conventional groups, that the forest resource is not endless. More alternative operators than conventional operators felt that the AAC was not reasonable (23% and 4% respectively), and in all of these cases they felt that it was too high. Conventional operators tended to express more concern about access to the existing Annual Allowable Cut, rather than to its actual size. "There should be more small business sales instead of it going to big mills - three big mills have wiped out 28 small sawmills", said one conventional operator. Other operators (7 conventional and 7 alternative) seemed more reluctant to address this statement than other statements in the questionnaire, feeling that they were not qualified to respond, and deferring to scientists. For example, this is what GN had to say: EB: Do you think the AAC is set at a reasonable level? GN: That's another good question. A lot of people ask me that question, you know, are we cutting too many trees? And for me, it's a tough one, like I've done a lot of flying in the area, probably more than the average kind of person, and for me when I get up and I look around, there's a lot of area cut, but there's also a lot of area left standing. So it's really tough for me to make a judgement call based on that. So I have to go back to the numbers that the Ministry provides, and say here's what the information - our inventory tells us, here's what our growing stock information tells us, and here's what we should be cutting. 6.2.3 Attitudes towards Environmentalists I inquired about attitudes towards environmentalists, anticipating that conventional operators would be antagonistic towards environmentalists and that alternative operators would be more sympathetic, in keeping with exploitist vs. ecocentric representations found The wording of the question may have caused some confusion, with some interviewees associating A A C with a particular mill's quota, or with the quota ascribed to the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program. Although I tried to clarify my intention in asking this question, I am not sure that it was always clear. Nonetheless, I received some useful feedback. 147 in the literature. I provided two statements about environmentalists, which are shown in Table 17. Table 17: Attitudes towards environmentalists Operators who agree (%) Conv. Altern. t value Sig. Environmentalists create a false image of the forest industry 83 80 -1.23 0.225 Environmentalists are responsible for the majority of job losses in the forest industry 52 41 1.82 0.075 Overall agreement was strong that "environmentalists create a false image of the forest industry" (82%). However, in discussions about environmentalists, interviewees indicated fairly strong support for the environmental cause, but frustration with the tactics employed by extreme environmentalists. While the deep ecology perspective reflected in the alternative forestry literature suggests that environmentalists would receive support from alternative operators, and be derided by conventional operators, I found no clear differences between these two groups. In some cases, comments provided were completely opposite from those that I anticipated as responses. For example, one alternative operator, a horse logger, said that "environmentalists are responsible for the development of the Forest Practices Code, and the Forest Practices Code is going to be the biggest downfall to the forest industry that there is". And yet another operator, in this case a conventional logging contractor, observed that "environmentalists are good for jobs, for example the Forest Practices Code has created more jobs". In both cases the creation of the Forest Practices Code is attributed to environmentalists, but the conventional operator sees it as a good thing, and the alternative operator predicts that it will damage the industry. In other cases, operators fit better the anticipated response. One alternative operator said that while environmentalists could be extreme, they were an "important contribution". A conventional operator, whose family had been in logging for at least three 148 generations, fit the media stereotype of a logger, expressing the view that "[environmentalists] are in fairyland". Responses to statements about environmentalists' actions and jobs losses actually revealed more disdain towards government and a corporate forest industry than towards the environmentalists. For example, when I read the statement that "environmentalists are responsible for the majority of job losses in the forest industry" (see Table 17), one interviewee, an alternative operator, laughed out loud (one of the several occasions when I felt quite naive). This person responded quickly with "it's technology, not environmentalists". Another alternative operator blamed technology and Native issues for job losses in the area, and still another blamed higher efficiency and greed. Three conventional operators mentioned that technology, not environmentalists, had been responsible for job losses. What these responses suggest to me is that the friction between loggers and environmentalists which is sensationalized in the media has not taken place in the Bulkley Valley. One conventional operator told me "we haven't been affected much by environmentalists here;" an alternative operator commented that "environmentalists are not an issue up here, they're not the problem". Yet there are many environmentalists, working to improve forest management in the Valley, and who have succeeded in affecting both the rate and the location of forestry activities30. However, few of these environmentalists would suggest that the industry be shut down, and many are as concerned about employment and community stability as ecological sustainability. There seems to be a different type of dialogue between Swift (1983:214) records that "one forest business journalist wrote in 1981 that Smithers had a reputation as a town with more environmental activists enjoying more popular support than anywhere else in British Columbia." 149 environmentalists and loggers in this area, and the division between the two groups is often (but certainly not always!) indistinct. One operator, who had been involved in a local planning effort which I was often told had been overwhelmed by environmental interests31, provided the following perspective: EB: What did you think of the make-up of the (local planning process)? I have been told several times that there were too many extreme environmentalists. GN: Ya, a pretty strong green movement. Besides [names person], have you talked to anyone else on the [Community Resources] board?3 EB: No. GN: I'm not sure if I would call them extreme environmentalists. There's a forest ecologist, a biologist, a teacher, ex-dentist, urn, you know, ex-worker for CP [Canadian Pacific Railway], I guess. But anyway, they definitely had an environmental bent, but I wouldn't call them extreme. I've seen much more severe cases of extreme environmentalists than that. And the extreme ones, although some of them wanted to be on there, didn't make it to the board. 6.2.4 Summary of Environmental Attitudes Expressed By Conventional and Alternative Operators The interviews revealed similarities and differences between conventional and alternative operators, although there were no statistically significant differences between groups. Both groups felt the British Columbia forest industry is environmentally sustainable, although I had anticipated that more alternative operators would disagree with this statement. Both groups felt equally that more independent operators would improve the environmental performance of the industry (in keeping with alternative forestry). Both groups had been affected by the Forest Practices Code, and both groups felt the Forest Practices Code was useful legislation. I was surprised at how many conventional operators Suggesting that there is some animosity between forest workers and environmentalists, even if not to the extent as on the Coast. 3 2 It frequently occurred that people would refer to other people I had interviewed. At the time I found it alarming that interviewees were so informed about each other's involvement in my study. Having now spent more than two years in the valley, I have become accustomed, if not completely comfortable, with the idea that 'everybody knows everybody's business'. Whereas confidentiality must be assured by a researcher, there are no such guarantees among interviewees. 150 supported the Forest Practices Code given the industry resistance to it at the time of interviews. The overall impression from these operators is that environmental stewardship results primarily from a combination of knowledge gained from working 'in the bush' and some form of external monitoring (which is resented but nonetheless recognized as necessary). Conventional operators indicated slightly more support for corporations as environmental stewards than alternative operators. While there was skepticism about the stewardship capabilities of the major licensees, it did not always follow that operators thought small mills would be better stewards. For example, when asked if they would prefer more small mills, reference was made to the 'gypo' operators of the past - to the wasted wood, the workplace hazards, and poor environmental practices (see Table 19 and discussion in section 6.3.1). Discussion of the Forest Practices Code revealed little difference in attitudes towards environmental regulation between conventional and alternative operators. Although slightly more alternative operators supported the Forest Practices Code unquestioningly, there were many conventional operators who gave the Code their support. Furthermore, those who were resistant to the Code, usually referred to the bureaucracy and inflexibility of enforcement, rather than the regulations themselves. For example, one conventional operator noted that: It would be good to have seminars or round tables with government, mills, environmentalists, and loggers to discuss issues around the Forest Practices Code rather than have training seminars where knowledge is shoved down your throat. Nobody listens to the people who actually are doing the work. Attitudes toward the AAC differed more between the two groups, with more conventional operators (62%) accepting of the current cut level than alternative operators (48%). Alternative operators were more likely to feel the AAC was too high. These differences may reflect the 'volume versus value' differences which the alternative forestry 151 literature asserts exist between conventional and alternative operators. However, because I am not entirely comfortable with the way this question was received I am reluctant to interpret the results. While it is not immediately apparent that either the Forest Practices Code or the prescribed Annual Allowable Cut ensures the sustainability of the forest resource (and is beyond the scope of this dissertation), it is clear that the group of operators I interviewed, whether conventional or alternative, are for the most part supportive of environmental regulation and moderate environmentalists. This is a somewhat surprising result given the widespread perception that conventional forest workers are resistant to any regulations which may interfere with their work. However, both groups tended to have negative views of the 'Greenpeace' type of extreme environmentalist. 52% of conventional operators felt that environmentalists were to blame for job losses in the forest industry, compared to 41 % of alternative operators. Operators who did not agree with this statement often said it was technology instead. 6.3 Community Values The Canadian political economy descriptions of resource communities in which "the essential ingredients of communities are missing" (Marchak 1983, discussed in Chapter Five) are a stark contrast to the depictions of community in the alternative forestry literature. Alternative small forest operators are said to care about the people in their community, be involved in local planning, and work toward creating a local economy based on diverse small businesses. Conventional operators, on the other hand, will not get involved in local planning, and will leave resource planning to major corporations and government. The following three sections explore attitudes toward community, local planning, and the local economy, summarized in Table 11 and repeated here. 152 Community Values Conventional operators: Canadian political economy dependent on large corporation • dependent on company for work • not preferential to local hiring • deals only with major corporation in local area believes that majors and government can determine best use of resources • not involved in planning activities Alternative Operators: Alternative value-based forest economy • places priority on local economic activities • hires locally • deals with local small firms • believes that local decisions will reflect best use of the resource • is involved in local planning 6.3.1 Communi ty /Company Town Community structure is an important element in many analyses of the British Columbia forest industry. As Chapter Four described, the development of the forest industry in British Columbia resulted in the establishment of isolated and dependent resource communities. The alternative forestry literature views the rise in small businesses in the current era as a sign of communities shifting from over-reliance on major corporations to creating a locally-based, diversified and hence a more stable economy. In this section, I explore attitudes toward community held by small forest operators in the Bulkley Valley. Do they consider their communities overly-reliant on major corporations? Would they prefer more small businesses in the area? And are there significant differences in these values between operators using alternative methods and conventional operators? Because of the differences expressed in the two literatures around community, I anticipated that conventional operators would have moved to the Bulkley Valley , or have stayed there, for business reasons only. Alternative operators, on the other hand, would have a greater sense of community, or territoriality, which would extend to the natural environment as well. They might have been born in the community, or have chosen to move there for lifestyle reasons. 153 However, when I asked operators why they had located their business in the Bulkley Valley (see Table 18), the most common response among both conventional (55%) and alternative (29%) operators was simply that they had grown up here, or that their spouse had grown up here. Some included other reasons as well, such as "there were good business opportunities" or "we like the people here", but the most obvious reason to them was still that they had grown up here. 'Good business opportunities' was mentioned less often than I had anticipated; by only 10% of conventional and 23% of alternative operators. Reasons of lifestyle, such as the beautiful natural environment, being able to spend time with family, or pursue recreational activities, were more important to both groups than business opportunities, but more so for alternative operators (29%) than conventional operators (16%). Table 18: Reason(s) to locate business in the Bulkley Valley Conventional (%) Alternative (%) Grew up here (spouse grew up here) 68 (6) 46 (3) Good business opportunities 10 23 Lifestyle 16 29 Major Corporation Presence 59% of both conventional and alternative operators felt they were better off with a major corporation in the area (Table 19), although the reasons given for this by the two groups were slightly different. Those who felt they were better off, spoke of the advantages of having big mills in the area, primarily security of employment (5 conventional and 2 alternative operators) and economic stability (3 alternative and 1 conventional operators). Five alternative operators felt better off with a major corporation in the area, because the big mills provide niche opportunities for small business, by trading dry for green timber, for 154 example. These were all 'value-added' manufacturers who were able to trade with the major licensees for timber under the 16.1 Small Business Forest Enterprise Program33. Table 19: Resource community values Operators who answered 'yes' (%) Conv. Altern. Chi-Sq. Sig. Is your company better off because there is a major licensee in the local area? 59 59 0.29907 0.58446 Would you prefer to deal with smaller mills? 37.5 66.7 5.78472 0.01617 Operators who agreed (%) Conv. Altern. t-value Sig. Small business owners are more concerned about the community than major licensees 87 80 1.55 0.127 Small businesses provide more stable jobs than major licensees 29 28 0.84 0.403 Two conventional and seven alternative operators who felt they were better off having a major corporation in the area qualified their response by noting concerns about the excessive control held by these companies. Those operators who felt they were worse off, also raised issues of excessive control by major corporations (four conventional and four alternative operators) and the volumes of timber required to keep the big mills operating (three conventional and one alternative operators). Many interviewees revealed a reluctant acceptance of major corporations as an economic necessity; this was true for both conventional and alternative operators. One conventional operator put it this way: "you have to have that [the presence of major corporations] to unload your timber". Another said: "they keep people employed but they have to cut a lot of wood to do it". One alternative operator, who was opposed to having The Small Business Forest Enterprise Program and other Ministry of Forests programs relevant to small forest operators are described in Appendix B. 155 large corporations in the area noted: "There's steady work, but they use too much wood. They're running out of wood for their appetites." Only 29% of conventional and 28% of alternative operators agreed with the statement "small businesses provide more stable jobs than major licensees." 13 respondents (6 conventional and 7 alternative operators) noted that while it was currently the case that the major corporations provide more stable jobs, it was because of current tenure arrangements which give major corporations secure access to the resource base. One conventional operator put it this way: "it's access to the resource that creates jobs; whoever has access creates jobs". One alternative operator commented that while major corporations provide stable jobs during productive phases, over the long term they are inherently unstable because of the 'boom and bust' cycle. A conventional operator noted that "big mills are more stable when they're here, but when they're gone, they're gone". While it was acknowledged by more than half the operators that small businesses do not provide the stability of major licensees (see Table 19), there was also a large component of both conventional and alternative operators who felt that the system was set up in such a way that large corporations are able to maintain stability in the short term. I asked interviewees if they would prefer to deal with small mills if it were available to them as an option. I anticipated, based on the literature, that alternative operators would prefer dealing with small mills, whereas conventional operators would prefer to continue dealing with major corporations. The results reflect this, with 73% of alternative operators preferring small mills if possible, whereas only 40% of the conventional operators would prefer this arrangement. Reasons given for preferring to work with small mills were equally divided between economic stability, increased jobs, economic diversification, and simply for the fact that "small is beautiful". 156 Of the 37.5% of conventional operators and 66.7% of alternative operators who preferred not to deal with small mills, most felt small mills would be unreliable to deal with. "Don't turn the clock backwards," commented one alternative operator. "Too many scary stories of the old days" said another; they're "inconsistent", said yet another. Conventional operators said "they're inefficient", "unreliable", and "you're never sure if you'll get paid". One measure of the stability of small businesses is how long they have been in operation. Within the operator group that I interviewed, there was considerable variation, as illustrated in Figure 15. There was no significant difference between average years of operation for conventional and alternative operators, with an average of 14 for conventional operators and 13 for alternative operators. However, there were more alternative operations less than five years old (39% versus 22% conventional), and more conventional operations more than twenty years old (28% versus 19% alternative). This may support M'Gonigle's vision of an emergent alternative forestry. On the other hand it is widely known that there is a high turnover of small businesses in forestry. The case study data could also be used to argue that conventional operators have better staying power, having more operations that have stayed in business for over twenty years (with the implication that alternative operators may have started twenty years ago as well, but have since failed). Longitudinal data would be required to demonstrate either argument. It is perhaps not surprising that most interviewees agreed with the statement "small business owners are more concerned about the community than major licensees." (87% of conventional and 80% of alternative operators). However, it is interesting that more of the conventional operators agreed with this statement than did operators using alternative methods. No conventional operators disagreed with this statement. Two alternative operators disagreed strongly with this statement (they did not explain their responses). 157 Figure 15: Years in Operation, Conventional and Alternative Operators 6.3.2 Attitudes toward Local Planning I asked operators a series of questions about local planning - first, if they felt local planning was important; second, if they had been involved in any local planning processes; and third, if they felt represented in local planning initiatives. The results are summarized in Table 20. 78% of conventional and 72% of alternative operators felt that local planning processes were important for small operators such as themselves. In contrast to anticipated responses, more alternative operators felt that local planning was not important than did conventional operators (18% vs. 11%). There were no noticeable differences between the two groups in terms of reasons for supporting such processes. Comments ranged from the positive: "it's long and tedious, but everyone is hoping for good things to come out of it; it's good to have a community-based plan" (conventional operator); to very negative: "the process is a joke - it's a bunch of people with self-interests sitting at the table" (conventional operator). 158 Table 20: Attitudes toward local planning and organizations Operators who answered yes (%) Conv. Altern. Chi-Sq. Sig. Are local planning processes important for small operators? 78 72 0.02236 0.88114 Are you involved in local planning? 30 29.4 0.00264 0.95901 Do you feel represented in local planning? 37.5 33.3 0.12879 0.71969 30% and 27% of alternative and conventional operators, respectively, had been involved in some kind of public planning process 3 4 . Six operators were involved in Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs), one operator was on a sub-committee of the LRMP. Two had been on the LRMP, but