OTTAWA, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's biggest forestry union welcomes
today's announcement of some form of assistance for devastated forestry
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada President Dave
Coles says, "This is a Katrina moment for the Conservatives. Are they going to
fly over the devastation in Canada's forestry communities and do nothing, as
George Bush did in Louisiana? Or are they going to finally do the right
CEP representatives met with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Revenue
Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn after thousands of forestry workers and
pensioners thronged the streets of Ottawa in one of the biggest union
demonstrations on the Hill in years. A week before, forestry workers occupied
seven Conservative MPs' offices.
"The Conservatives have given us forestry policy by microwave," says
Coles. "They have reheated the same old stale stuff from the back of the
fridge, and tried to serve it to us as new money."The CEP has three key questions for the Conservatives:
1. What are they going to do about giving viable mills loan guarantees?
2. What are they proposing to do about the US government's unfair
3. How do they propose to protect forestry workers' pensions?Gaétan Ménard, the CEP's Secretary Treasurer, says, "Forestry is the
renewable heart of 300 communities, and so far the Conservatives have done
absolutely nothing to safe guard them. Let's hope Resources Minister Lisa
Raitt has something genuine and truly new for us."
There are 300 forestry dependent towns in Canada and 55,000 forestry jobs
have been lost in the past two years.
The 150,000-member CEP represents more than 60,000 forestry workers,
including 7,500 AbitibiBowater employees. There are 300,000 direct and
indirect jobs in the forest sector.
For further information: Dave Coles, CEP President, (613) 299-5628;
Gaétan Ménard, CEP Secretary Treasurer, (819) 775-6980