Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rafferty slams forest policy

Local NDP MP John Rafferty rose in Question Period yesterday to ask why the Conservative government has abandoned resource-dependent communities like Fort Frances after the economic downturn.
Rafferty pressed the Harper Conservatives on their policy regarding forestry-dependent communities.

“Since the Conservatives took office, more than 30,000 forestry jobs have been lost in Northern Ontario,” Rafferty noted.
“Why has this government abandoned resource communities and hard-working families in Northern Ontario and right across Canada?” he asked.
Rafferty spoke with representatives from Resolute Forest Products early on Tuesday, ahead of their announcement of the idling of the Fort Frances kraft mill and #5 paper machine.
“We had a frank discussion about the needs of the workers, and I’m encouraged by the fact that Resolute [has] simply idled the operations at this point,” Rafferty said. “It tells me they intend on getting the machines up and running again soon.”
Rafferty added Resolute has been clear about the effect of the high dollar, and how it has put the products from the Fort Frances and Thunder Bay mills at a competitive disadvantage.
“We just have to get the Conservatives to listen, accept that their high-dollar policy is hurting the forestry sector, and have some remedy,” he stressed.
“Otherwise, I fear the bad news in the sector will continue.”

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