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Canada:$110 Million Federal Boost For Forestry

$110 million federal boost for forestry

Friday, December 20, 2002 - 07:00

Local News - Local politicians had mixed reaction Thursday after hearing that federal support is coming to forestry-dependent communities.

Industry Minister, Allan Rock, on behalf of the government of Canada announced the implementation of the $110 million Softwood Industry and Community Economic Adjustment Initiative. The initiative is designed to address the adjustment and transition needs of forest-dependent communities across Canada.

MPP Gilles Bission (NDP-Timmins James Bay) said he has mixed feelings on the funding announcement made by Rock.

¡°Anything any government does at any level to help develop and diversify the economy is a good thing,¡± he said. ¡°However, I would much rather find a permanent solution to our trade issues with the Americans, because at the end of the day, those are real jobs in the forestry industry.¡±

Under the program, those communities experiencing long-term employment declines linked to tariffs imposed on Canadian Softwood lumber will be granted federal support.

Regional Development agencies will deliver and implement the initiative, whose funding will target several broadly defined areas of eligibility including, innovative and value added forestry initiative, community capacity building, diversifying local economies and infrastructure that encourages economic growth.

In Ontario, the initiative will be delivered by FedNor in conjunction with the forestry industry, community stakeholders and Aboriginal communities.

The government really should be doing more to preserve those jobs, not only in Ontario, but across Canada, Bisson said.

¡°I would much rather see us resolving the problem that we have with the Americans in the Free Trade Agreement,¡± he said.

¡°If we decide to respond to the trade agreement, then we need to make it work, otherwise, what the heck are we fooling ourselves for?¡±

Bisson said it is the forestry industry itself that needs to be dealt with.

¡°We can¡¯t afford to keep losing those good high paying jobs in the forestry industry,¡± he said.


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