White Birch paper files for bankruptcy

Union to Harper: "Forget the photo ops and come home to work"

OTTAWA, Feb. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Another forestry company, White Birch, has filed for bankruptcy protection throwing the lives of about 1,100 workers into turmoil, and the president of Canada's largest forestry union puts the blame squarely at the feet of the Harper government.

White Birch has newsprint mills in Quebec City, Rivière-du-Loup, and Gatineau, Québec.

"Bankruptcy filings by this and other forestry giants could have been avoided at no cost to the government," says Dave Coles. "For months and months, we have been calling on the government to take the simple step of providing loan guarantees at commercial rates for companies forced into bankruptcy protection, to help them weather the recession.

"Our calls have fallen on deaf ears. As thousands of workers are losing their jobs and pensions, Mr. Harper is more concerned about photo opportunities at the Olympics.

"It's clear that the federal Conservatives do not care at all about securing the future of what once was, and could continue to be, one of the cornerstones of our economy.

"If the Liberals really want to stand apart from the Conservatives, they should stand up for forest workers and rural Canada by introducing initiatives to bring immediate relief to forest companies facing bankruptcy.

"Tens of thousands of workers have been thrown out of work, hundreds of communities have been torn apart. As companies under CCAA protection restructure, pensioners are worried sick.

"This crisis will escalate unless the government intervenes," says Coles. "And until it does more than offer meaningless platitudes about the state of the economy, it will not hear the end of us."

SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

For further information: For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628 or Gaétan Ménard, (613) 230-5200 ext. 265 (office), (819) 775-6980 (cell)

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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