Budget does nothing for forest workers, pensioners

OTTAWA, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - "All political parties should vote to bring this government down now," says Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles in reaction to today's budget.

"Yet another budget, filled with rhetoric and platitudes, that does nothing for workers, families and communities in hundreds of forest-dependent communities," says the leader of Canada's largest forestry union.

"We saw the same show in last year's budget," says Coles. "In fact, in the past year, the Conservatives made many announcements about aid to the forest sector, yet we saw a record number of bankruptcies."

"Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty are simply continuing to milk the media for their own gain.

"Workers and families will see none of this money. And there is nothing for pensioners who are paying the price for the federal government's inaction, as companies facing bankruptcy seek to finance their debts with employee pension funds.

"CEP's repeated calls for the government to provide loan guarantees at commercial rates to help mills weather the recession, continue to be ignored."

Coles also noted that in past budgets, CEP called for a national strategy to help rejuvenate the forest sector through investment in new products and the creation of value-added jobs. Yesterday's Throne Speech made reference to this, but says Coles, "it's a case of too little, too late. Without loan guarantees to keep mills alive, who will produce these new products?"

CEP represents 150,000 Canadian workers in several key parts of the economy, including more than 55,000 forest workers. There are 300,000 direct and indirect jobs in the forest sector and over 300 forest- dependent communities in Canada.

SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of 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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