Canada Forestry Workers Occupy Government Offices
May 26, 2009 - Forestry workers yesterday occupied the offices
of four Conservative Cabinet Ministers and three MPs today to drive home their
demand for action on Canada's forest crisis.
Members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
are inside the offices of Jay Hill (Prince George-Peace River); John Duncan
(Vancouver Island North); Jim Flaherty (Whitby-Oshawa); Lawrence Cannon
(Pontiac); Josée Verner (Louis-Saint-Laurent); Jean-Pierre Blackburn
(Jonquiere-Alma); and Mike Allen (Tobique-Mactaquac).
"The federal government's aloof attitude toward forest community's
borders on contempt," said CEP president Dave Coles. "In the face of the pain
and suffering created by 55,000 job losses in the last two years, the
government has done nothing.
"Today we are taking a stand — we are fighting for the future of our
families, our communities and our industry," Coles said
The forestry workers are demanding that the MPs meet with them to discuss
CEP's proposals for solutions to the forest industry crisis, and that they
pressure Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with a union delegation who
will be part of a protest by thousands of forest workers in Ottawa on June
Coles said his union "will do whatever it takes to get MPs
to take this crisis seriously."
CEP is demanding that the federal government:
- Provide loan guarantees to forest companies facing financial difficulty
so that they can keep operating.
- Protect workers' pensions. The federal government must proclaim into
law the part of the protection against creditors' act (passed by
Parliament in Dec. '07) that makes paying off workers pensions and
wages a priority.
- Level the playing field. Match U.S. tax credits to the industry for the
use of alternative fuel - so that Canadian forest companies can compete
- Set up a national adjustment fund for workers, their families and
communities impacted by mill closures, and income support for older
- Hold a national summit of key stakeholders on the future of the forest
industry that includes employment stabilization and forest regeneration
SOURCE: Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
See related story:
• Forest Workers in Canada Rally to Protect Jobs (5/18)