Friday, February 6, 2009

More $ for Pet Projects

A recent press release that summarizes exactly how out of touch the Liberal government is.

VICTORIA - While thousands more forest workers are losing their jobs in the Interior, Gordon Campbell has found billions of taxpayer dollars to spend on his pet projects in metro Vancouver, say the New Democrats.

Tolko, Tembec and Canfor have all announced temporary or indefinite mill shutdowns this week in mills in the Kootenays, Okanagan, Cariboo and the Peace. More than 2,000 workers have been affected. Meanwhile, the Campbell government has announced it will spend billions on the Port Mann bridge and hundreds of millions more on a new roof at B.C. Place stadium.

“It’s stunning to see where this government’s priorities are,” said NDP forests critic Bob Simpson. “The forest industry has been in freefall for years and they have done nothing to help. But they can easily find billions of tax dollars to fund the premier’s pet projects.”

More than 20,000 jobs have been lost from the forest industry in the last two years. When pressed for action, Campbell government ministers have acknowledged they are just spectators.

Last year, NDP Leader Carole James unveiled a five-point plan to renew and modernize the forest industry. The plan includes: developing a green forest plan, developing an innovative and diverse industry, community and worker stabilization funding, a permanent commission on forestry and tenure reform. The plan is available at .

“Industry leaders have been calling on government for forest policy changes, but the government has turned a blind eye,” said Simpson. “But they have lots of time and lots of money to plan big projects in metro Vancouver.

“If the government cared about Interior communities, they would enact the NDP plan immediately to help put the forest industry back on the road to recovery.”

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