Summer job sparks academic interest

May 16, 2002, vol. 24, no. 2
By Marianne Meadahl

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As a youth living in Montreal, Michael Howlett followed his friends out West to spend summers working in the lumber industry. They'd trade the city life for more sedate communities like Houston and Canal Flats in central B.C.

Besides earning a few dollars, the experience opened for Howlett, a political science professor at SFU since 1989, a window on how forest policy affected the industry's daily routine.

He went on to finish his post-secondary education by completing a PhD that focused on forest policy. His interest and involvement in that research and related areas, including other resource, environmental and First Nations issues, continues. It recently culminated with the publishing of his latest book, Canadian Forest Policy: Adapting to Change. The book, an anthology of essays by key industry researchers, is the SFU bookstore's book of the month for May.

Howlett is author of several books, including an earlier one focusing on B.C. forest policy. His latest contribution fills a gap for forest policy researchers and those attempting to better understand what's happening to the industry across the country. “There are thousands of government reports, but no synthetic policy books that tie it all together,” says Howlett, noting that the industry is under a barrage of changes, with the recent U.S. tariffs being just one of them.

“Globalization, an overall restructuring process, the environmental movement and First Nations issues all have a hand in reshaping it,” he says. Chapters, including one co-written by SFU geographer and industry analyst Roger Hayter, examine each of these forces and how they have impacted change.

Returning from sabbatical, Howlett becomes editor of the Canadian Journal of Political Science in July and is the recipient of a Burnaby Mountain professorship.

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