MP McLeod Calls for Emergency Debate on the Forestry Crisis

Ottawa (December 11, 2019): Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo and Conservative Shadow Minister for Natural Resources (Forestry and Mining), today requested an emergency debate in Parliament on the jobs crisis affecting forestry workers in British Columbia.

“The closure and restriction of softwood lumber mills in recent months has devastated communities across British Columbia,” said MP Cathy McLeod. “Over the past four years, the federal Liberal Government has ignored the needs of rural communities, failing to take action as the job crisis unfolded. The Canadian Press described the situation as ‘the forest industry carnage’. That’s why Conservatives are requesting an emergency debate on the job crisis affecting forestry workers.”

According to the Council of Forest Industries, Canada’s forestry sector supports about 140,000 jobs and generates about $4 billion in revenues annually for British Columbia. However, since the crisis began, at least 20 lumber mills have been forced to shut down or restrict production. As a result, thousands of people across 27 communities in B.C. are out of work. Further layoffs are expected before the Christmas holidays.

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister told the House of Commons on December 6, 2019 that the federal government is taking the issue of increased tariffs to the World Trade Organization. However, the future of the Appellate Body is in serious jeopardy because the United States continues to block new appointees. Canada still has no softwood lumber agreement with the United States, and the Canadian forestry sector still facing crippling tariffs. Further, softwood lumber is absent from the revised version of the USMCA, signed Tuesday.

“This is an enormous opportunity for Justin Trudeau to stop attacking the Western Canadian economy. His government can start to heal regional divisions by alleviating this jobs crisis impacting thousands of workers, their families and communities across British Columbia,” added McLeod. “Conservatives will continue fighting to get our forestry and energy sectors back to work.”