Ottawa must shoulder some of the blame for the current woes in the B.C. forest sector, says MP Bob Zimmer.
“Many within the industry are pointing to a growing sense of uncertainty within the province’s forestry sector as the reasoning behind these closures, including the low lumber prices, a declining allowable annual cut, and how mill operations will be affected by the current draft caribou recovery plans,” the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP said in a statement issued today. “There are also growing concerns about the lack of progress on the softwood lumber issue. Unfortunately, we are seeing the real-world consequences of the Liberal’s failure to act on the softwood lumber file.”
The B.C. industry has been hit with several temporary and permanent sawmill and orient strand board plant closures over the past two months. The forest industry is citing reductions in fibre supply as one of the driving causes for the closures. Fibre is getting scarcer due to allowable annual cuts that have been reduced as the wood killed years ago is no longer merchantable and the huge amounts of forest that was devastated by wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
However, Zimmer isn’t letting the provincial government off the hook either.
“In these uncertain times, it looks as though this may just be the beginning, which is why I, along with other Conservative Members of Parliament from British Columbia, have been briefed on these closures and curtailments and possible next steps,” he said. “It is clear that both the federal Liberal government and provincial NDP government are simply not doing enough to support this important industry and its workers.”
He said if those affected have any questions about applying for any federal assistance programs, contact his office.