British Columbia (July 22, 2019): Conservative Members of Parliament Cathy McLeod, Bob Zimmer, Todd Doherty, Dan Albas, and Shannon Stubbs, sent a letter to the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Innovation, Science and Economic Development calling on them to take action in support of British Columbia’s forestry sector.
“In recent weeks, the closure and curtailment of softwood lumber mills has devastated communities across the British Columbia interior,” said MP Doherty. “The job losses are staggering. They will impact not just the employees and their families, but also countless people and businesses across the ridings we represent.”
“The Liberal Government has shown a complete lack of respect for these rural communities as this crisis has unfolded. Over six weeks ago I wrote to Minister Bains to request immediate assistance from his department, but there has been nothing but silence from the Minister’s office,” said MP McLeod. “In that time the situation has worsened, and the Liberal government appears to be oblivious to the needs of families in our region.”
“It is crystal clear to the forestry workers in BC that the Liberals’ Western Economic Diversification program is not working for them, and that Minister Bains appears to have no real understanding of the economic realities that are taking place in the BC interior,” said MP Albas. “This is what happens when regional economic development agencies that should be focused on the unique challenges of different regions across Canada are aggregated under a single minister from a major urban centre.”
“We ask that the Liberals take immediate steps to alleviate this crisis. In the short-term, employees and their communities require increased engagement on the part of the federal government, especially boots on the ground from Service Canada and the Department of Western Economic Diversification to guide people in accessing existing programs,” said MP Zimmer. “More action can also be taken in the long-term to support the economic diversification of rural municipalities, like those in the ridings we represent.”
“Conservative MPs across the region take this issue seriously,” said MP Stubbs. “We know that action must be taken immediately, and we call on Trudeau and his Liberal government to stop ignoring the needs of rural communities.”