Gov't out of touch with forestry needs



    OTTAWA, April 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Today's announcement by the natural
resources minister of $170-million for the forest industry is a re-hash of
measures set out in the February budget, which will do nothing to address the
urgent issues faced by the industry, says Canada's largest forest workers'
union.
    "How this government manages to remain so out of touch with the realities
faced by the industry and its workers is beyond me," says Dave Coles,
president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
    "This forest industry is barely keeping its head above water and the
government is talking about expansion and 'next-generation forest products'.
"Let's get our priorities straight. Let's look after this generation first,
says Mr. Coles.
    "The sector needs immediate access to funding for debt-refinancing.
Workers need to be assured that their pensions will be protected and they will
have the option of retiring in dignity," adds CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan
Ménard.
    Mr. Ménard also points out that Canada's forest industry is facing a
further challenge as American forest companies can gain billions of dollars in
unfair subsidies by manipulating a tax credit that was designed to promote
bio-fuels and reduce the burning of fossil fuels in the transportation sector.
    "The Canadian government has ignored our repeated requests for
consultation and in particular for a national summit of forest sectors
stakeholders to look at meaningful economic stimulus," he says.
    "Instead, it recycles old announcements to create the appearance of
action. Today's announcement simply reinforces the fact that Stephen Harper's
government does not believe in Canada's forest industry. It's high time to
vote them out of power."

    CEP represents more than 60,000 forestry workers, as well as workers in
other key sectors of Canada's economy, including energy, telecommunications,
media and printing.
    There are 300,000 direct and indirect jobs in the forest sector and over
300 forest- dependent communities in Canada




For further information:

For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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