Libby Speaks Out for Forestry Workers and Their Communities

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): - Mr. Speaker, Canada has a forest industry in crisis and a Conservative government that does not respond.

The mill closure in Mackenzie, B.C. is just the latest example. The government is allowing countless companies and communities to flounder and fail without planning for future market cycles. Without being targeted these jobs will disappear, never to return.

Why is the Conservative government handing billions of dollars to oil companies while letting these forest families struggle and allowing an impact that is devastating in local communities?

Hon. Gary Lunn (Minister of Natural Resources, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely wrong. It is our government that has ended the tax subsidy for the oil sands projects in future. We are phasing that out.

In fact we are providing billions of dollars to help those affected workers. Our Prime Minister announced a billion dollars for the community development trust which was handed over to the provinces to deliver help to these communities directly.

We are working with the industry on innovation, new market opportunities and opportunities for technology and the industry is very pleased with our efforts.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I challenge the minister to go to Mackenzie, B.C. and just see what the impact is on families and on that community and all of the jobs that are being lost as a result.

It is the same with the pine beetle. Climate change has allowed the mountain pine beetle to ravage the forests of B.C. The result of the red tide of destruction across B.C.'s interior is being felt in many communities and homes. This season will yet again see major fire risk because of the deadwood and climate conditions.

I would like to know what steps is the Conservative government taking to address the safety and security of communities at risk, or will it just be another story of too little too late?

This Question Period Transcript was posted on May 16, 2008
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