With the B.C. forest sector in crisis across the province, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and his rural caucus have issued a letter to John Horgan calling on his government to take meaningful and immediate action to help the sector.
“To date, the John Horgan government has thrown up its hands and told forest-dependent communities there is nothing it can do to help them,” said Official Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “This is failed leadership on the part of John Horgan– plain and simple. Hard-working B.C. families need help and they need it now.”
Yesterday, Andrew Wilkinson and his rural caucus released a letter sent to John Horgan that outlines actions the NDP government should take to address the forestry sector crisis facing British Columbia.
The BC Liberals are calling on John Horgan to:
- Immediately engage the federal government to look at multi-level supports for communities and impacted workers, including employment assistance for those workers who don’t currently qualify;
- Establish a forestry competitiveness committee, including opposition MLAs, focused on how we can ensure a healthy sector in the short and long term;
- Re-engage the U.S. to get B.C. the softwood deal it deserves – John Horgan promised this over two years ago;
- Immediately reduce stumpage fees and the carbon tax on the forestry sector, including contractors and others dependent on the sector, until market conditions stabilize; and
- Create a fund that impacted communities can access to hire contractors and out-of-work forestry workers on wildfire mitigation projects.
“John Horgan needs to hold himself accountable, stop making excuses and stop the job losses in this province,” said Forestry Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “At a time when forestry workers across the province should be hard at work, instead they are facing job losses and no paycheques.”
Merritt personally has seen a cut back to one shift at Aspen Planers resulting in 50 job losses in the community. Also, Canfor recently announced curtailments at 12 of their 13 BC Mills. Mills in Vavenby and Fort St. John have also announced complete closures within the coming months.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt