CEP turns up heat on Canadian government

Jan. 22, 2007 - Canada's largest union of forestry workers has mobilized Canadians and forest industry stakeholders from coast to coast, according to the CEP, in an effort to call for federal government action on the forest sector jobs crisis.

Today is the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) of Canada's National Day of Action for Forest Sector Jobs, and thousands of Canadians are sending a unified message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and their Members of Parliament urging them to "break the silence" on this crisis, and support new investment in forestry communities.

"We want the government to pay attention to what's happening to one of Canada's most important industries, and we want meaningful action," said CEP President Dave Coles.

"What will solve this crisis is economic investment by the industry with immediate, urgent support from government," Coles added.

CEP said forest communities all across Canada are holding rallies and other events to support these demands. For example, in Calgary, Alberta forest workers will be visiting Stephen Harper's constituency office. In Quebec, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe will join CEP, and the Quebec Federation of Labour at a news conference on the crisis in the forest industry. Simultaneously, a national symposium on the future of the forest industry is bringing labour, the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), environment groups, city mayors, aboriginals and MPs together for a strategy session on Parliament Hill.

CEP and FPAC have drafted a joint statement with specific demands to help bring about job stability and economic renewal in the forest sector. "We want Stephen Harper and Parliament to adopt a national strategy for the forest sector that will lead to economic rejuvenation and job stability," Coles said. "This crisis should concern every Canadian, because forest sector jobs support hundreds of communities across Canada that are an integral part of the Canadian economy. Though thousands of jobs have already been lost and the communities they support face economic devastation, the federal government has been sitting on its hands."


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