VANDERHOOF (December 4, 2019) – A YouTube video of a closed-door meeting between North Island MLA Claire Trevena and frustrated constituents and representatives from struggling Vancouver Island logging communities surfaced today.
The 30-minute video shows several heated exchanges between Minister Trevena and angry forestry sector workers in Campbell River who feel abandoned by the lack of action from John Horgan and the NDP government as the crisis continues to worsen.
“I visited the North Island a little over a week ago and people are telling me their local MLA is missing in action while the provincial government does nothing to save the forest industry or jobs in their own communities,” says BC Liberal Opposition Forestry Critic John Rustad. “We are now entering the sixth month of the strike at Western Forest Products, and unless Premier John Horgan decides to finally act and end the dispute, we are going to see more trucks repossessed and more defaults on mortgages.”
The YouTube video of a Campbell River meeting between Trevena and Vancouver Island forestry workers revealed a great deal of frustration and many question why their local MLA has been completely absent for the past five months. In the video, Trevena claims her duties as Minister of Transportation have kept her away from visiting her constituents.
“The Mayor of Port McNeill is echoing the BC Liberals’ call for an industrial commission of inquiry so we can at least get a clear picture of what is needed to resolve the dispute at Western Forest Products,” adds Rustad. “There are plenty of things government can do, including adjustment to the way stumpage fees are calculated, that can help get the industry competitive again.”
Yesterday’s announcement of the closure of Errington Cedar Products due to bankruptcy also reveals that Island and Coastal forestry workers are not eligible for the government’s $69 million early retirement program, or any other benefits available to forest workers in the interior.