Time to Move On
Back in 1991 when I first started on Canadian Forest Industries, more than a few industry old timers asked if I was going to stick around a while? Both Tony Rotherham of the old CPPA Woodlands Section and Tim White, Mr. Timberjack himself, asked me this point blank the first time we met. They had grown tired of the revolving door that had been the editor’s position for several years before I came on board, so it was a fair question. They also wanted to know if it was worth their effort to educate me on the complex world of Canadian forestry.
Over 17 years later, I’m still here. Both Tim and Tony, and a lot of other dedicated foresters and loggers along the way put considerable effort into educating me over the years, with varied success. Tony’s still trying, and in fact has a thought-provoking article in this issue on trends in roundwood harvesting and fibre utilization starting on page 28. It’s the first in a series aimed at getting landowners and forest managers (private and public) to think about who’ll be using our fibre down the road, and what trees will best meet their needs. It was inspired by a chat with Tony back in November, and is just one example of the kind of reader participation I’ve been blessed with over the years.
I hope my successor is blessed with the same cooperation in the coming years. That’s right – after more than 240 issues of Canadian Forest Industries and Canadian Wood Products, I’m moving on. Well, sort of. The company that has owned the magazines for the past five years – Annex Publishing & Printing – has asked me to move to the head office and give them a hand running a wide selection of publications they own. My responsibilities will continue to include publishing responsibility for all the forestry publications – including CFI and Canadian Wood Products – so you’re not getting rid of me that easily. I also remain the editor of Canadian Biomass for the foreseeable future, as we work to establish it as a household name in this growing sector. But I will also oversee a range of publications that includes the helicopter and aviation world, garden centres, greenhouses, florists, aggregates, roadbuilding, and more, all from a new home near Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario’s “Banana Belt.” I look forward to the challenge, and exploring the new locale with my family.
Fitting the Bill
And I leave you in excellent hands. Taking over the day-to-day role as editor, and responsibility for this page, is Bill Tice. Many will remember Bill as my right hand man in western Canada for almost a decade. Up until a few years ago he was my western editor, and so knows the magazine and industry intimately. He is based in Vancouver, and will bring a refreshing new geographical perspective to our coverage. He also boasts an industry background that includes working at Canfor, and until a month ago at West Fraser Timber. He has more than a decade of forestry journalism experience, and is still the best
photographer in the game.
Like me, where Bill calls home will have no impact on the truly national nature of CFI Magazine. We have the only truly national forestry circulation in the game, one that mirrors the industry itself. Our editorial will continue to reflect that. Bill will be on the road constantly, covering events and operations coast to coast, and overseas as well. And I’ll remain involved in CFI as editorial director, helping Bill chart his own course and hitting the road to help him cover the industry as needed.
Maybe he’ll even let me borrow this space from time to time. The editorial page has always been my favourite responsibility as editor. Agree or disagree, I hope that reading this page has never made your life easier. That’s never been my job, nor will it be Bill’s.
In the meantime, please welcome Bill to this new position. If he calls to visit your operation, I’d appreciate you taking the time to show him around, just as the majority of you did for me over the years. It’s all part of creating a voice and tech transfer tool for this great industry. I guarantee you’ll rarely find anyone easier to deal with than Bill. If you have a good story lead or are doing something the industry should know about, don’t hesitate to call Bill at (604) 346-8416 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For my part, thanks to so many of you for making mine one of the best jobs around for all these years. Despite current challenges, it’s a great industry, full of change and challenge, but also opportunity. That opportunity is now Bill’s.
Speaking of opportunity, the DIY retailers at RONA have just given us one on a silver platter, if we are creative and bold enough to seize it. In late November RONA announced its new wood procurement policy, a very aggressive commitment to green sourcing that garnered a lot of attention from environmental groups, and a lot of ink from mainstream media.
The early spin was on RONA’s commitment to FSC certified building products, and how this was going to force major changes across Canada’s forest sector. Yet once you get past the sound bites and hijacked message, it’s clear that the policy is in fact a strong endorsement of Canada’s existing forest management regime, and an offer to help make it even better.
If you haven’t read the actual policy (rather than the press releases), I urge you to. It’s only five pages long, and is an inspiration of thorough research, reasoned thinking, and careful wording. You’ll find a link to it at www.canadianforestindustries.ca (visit the “Web Archives” section and click on “Sourcing Success”). The policy does indeed come out in support of the FSC standard, but only within the context of an open, competitive market with several third-party certification options. It also leaves the door wide open to any company or certification supplier to improve in the two areas where RONA feels FSC now has the edge – support for indigenous communities and ensuring biodiversity. It all but invites those other systems to wrestle back equal billing in the process. The box on this page shows my take (and my take only) on the key features of this policy.
RONA has made a transparent decision, and remains open for business. It’s up to the industry, and especially those in charge of the SFI, CSA, and PEFC brands, to respond accordingly. And that, as they say, is my last word on this, or any other subject.
Be well; stay safe.
Group Publisher/Editorial Director