NDP forest minister shows up to industry rally but offers no relief for troubled sector

MACKENZIE (August 22, 2019) – BC Liberal MLAs joined hundreds of affected forestry workers today for the “Mackenzie Matters” rally demanding action from the NDP government to help this struggling industry. After finally hearing the calls for help from these devastated communities, the NDP forest minister was on hand to offer platitudes but failed to offer any meaningful action to stem the flow of job losses in the sector.

“This forestry crisis has proven to be an ever-growing snowball of bad news,” said Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Morris. “We came here to show our support and join the chorus demanding real action from John Horgan’s government to help those affected get out of this mess. It’s simply unacceptable for the forest minister to come to town and offer no support to the mill workers, loggers, truckers, and local businesses that are facing uncertainty.”​

In Mackenzie alone it is estimated that recent work stoppages have directly affected the employment of over ten per cent of residents.

“After months of being absent, today marks one of the first times the forest minister has shown his face in these hard-hit communities,” added Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “I was expecting some good news today, but it turns out the NDP still have no plan of action for the forestry sector going forward, just empty words. Families and communities are hurting and need relief. The NDP have the power to help, so why aren’t they?”

Local unions and businesses in support of affected workers are hoping their voices will be heard as they protest the lack of support from all levels of government over the numerous mill closures and curtailments that have left thousands of British Columbians without work.

“We have been sounding the alarm on this imminent industry collapse for months, and the NDP have provided few words and even less action towards a solution,” added Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. “Back in June we released a five-point plan with actionable steps that we wanted to see John Horgan’s government implement, yet here we are in August and they still have done little to help British Columbians through this crisis. It is simply not enough. We are here to let these workers know that they are being heard and that the BC Liberals are fighting for their livelihood.”​

“After months of desperate calls from local government officials and even the United Way, Premier Horgan finally acknowledged that we have a crisis in the forest industry,” noted Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. “Donaldson should have been at the forefront of this issue right from the beginning. Just showing up and waving to the crowd isn’t good enough.”

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