PRINCE GEORGE (July 9, 2019) – As the forest industry continues to fall into a tailspin, John Horgan and the NDP still have yet to introduce a comprehensive strategy to prevent the litany of temporary layoffs from becoming permanent.
On Monday, John Horgan and the NDP announced a minor training program that will help about a hundred people province-wide to “gain experience and secure forestry jobs.” Just the day before, Horgan announced he had found a million dollars to provide free tickets to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) for people throughout the Lower Mainland.
“John Horgan and the NDP are failing to recognize the major crisis we are currently witnessing in the forest industry,” says Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. “It’s one thing to support the arts and the VSO, but it’s quite another to completely ignore the plight of people losing their jobs in the forest industry.
“There is a real concern that the indefinite layoffs we have seen to date will become permanent unless John Horgan and the NDP come up with an economic relief package that will make the forest industry more competitive. This will involve forgoing government revenue in the short term so that we can save jobs over the long term. It is just a question of allocating the proper financial resources and making jobs the priority.”
“There are literally hundreds of people out of work in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House alone because of mill closures in my riding,” added Rural Development Critic and Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. “John Horgan and the NDP say there’s no money available to help the forest industry, but somehow they have come up with a million bucks for free tickets to the symphony for families in the Lower Mainland. We have a premier who would rather play fiddle and watch the forest industry burn than deal with a real economic crisis. It is obvious to people in rural and northern B.C. that they are not a priority for this government.”
A comprehensive list of mill shutdowns and closures under the NDP in 2019 is below.