OTTAWA, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ - About 2,500 forestry workers came to Ottawa
today to 'wake up Stephen Harper' to the impact of the forestry crisis on
families and communities across Canada.
Laid off forestry workers, worried pensioners, mayors and officials from
'mill towns', and hundreds of forest-industry supporters joined the workers in
a noisy march through the streets of Ottawa from Natural Resources Minister
Lisa Raitt's office to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office at the Langevin
The message from their union was clear: "The forest industry and forest
workers have a future and we will not just fade away," Communications, Energy
and Paperworkers President Dave Coles told the crowd over the roar of noise,
including bullhorns and chain saws. "We are not a sunset industry," he said.
"We want a program of loan guarantees to stop bankruptcies and to make
sure there is investment. Not a bail out - loans guaranteed at commercial
rates to help an industry survive the economic crisis.
"We want a level playing field with the US. They are supporting their
industry. We want support for our industry. We want protection for pensions.
We want this government to say that no pensioner will lose their pension
because a company is insolvent.
CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard stressed that there are only two
weeks left in Parliament. "The time to act is now," he said. "When Parliament
resumes in the fall it will be too late."
"If they do not act, the other parties should force an election
NDP Leader Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe also
addressed the rally. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was invited but
declined. "We have met with Mr. Ignatieff and we have asked him for the
support we need," said Mr. Coles, "but he has not yet made up his mind."
"I say to Mr. Ignatieff today and to the Liberal Party: if you support
forest workers now is the time to show it."
For further information:
For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628; Gaétan Ménard,
(613) 230-5800, ext. 265, (819) 775-6980; Michelle Walsh, (613) 230-5800, ext.
222, (613) 858-9144; Professional video footage of today's event is available.