Sending subsidy cheques to Northern Ontario forestry companies for operating expenses is a bad idea that only will delay the inevitable closing of unprofitable and obsolete mills.
Subsidies to industries are a waste of taxpayers’ dollars that allow companies to temporarily put off innovating, modernizing, and adapting to new global realities.
Instead of saving jobs, subsidies only keep workers on life support for a few years until the economics becomes so ridiculous that the layoffs happen anyway.
Rather then subsidize Ontario’s lumber and pulp and paper companies, the provincial government should help revamp the industry to bring it into the 21st century.
Electricity prices are unlikely to come down, so companies need help conserving and switching to renewable electricity. Fibre supply is declining due to past over-cutting, so companies need help producing more and varied products with fewer trees in northern communities.
Government assistance is needed to help in re-tooling to increase high-revenue value-added production and reduce dependence on low-revenue raw lumber and unprocessed pulp exports.
Furthermore, the tragic youth drain from Northern Ontario communities requires urgent action. By assisting companies to shift to labour-intensive, value-added production, the government will help create many more high-income processing jobs in northern communities then now exist in clear-cutting and raw pulp production.
Frank de Jong
Party of Ontario