Pallister Government Must Act Quickly to Prevent Economic Crisis in Wake of Tolko’s Announced Closing in The Pas: Lathlin

The closure of the Tolko Industries mills in The Pas will throw hundreds of people out of work and devastate the local economy, NDP MLA Amanda Lathlin said today. The Pallister government must act quickly to protect good jobs and build an economy for the future of the community, added Lathlin, the MLA for The Pas.

“We urge the Pallister government to act immediately to prevent a crisis in The Pas,” said Lathlin. “The closure of the mills will be incredibly stressful for families who will have a tough time making ends meet without a regular income. It will also hurt many other local businesses and undermine the economic future of the entire region.”

Tolko purchased the local saw mill and kraft paper mill in 1997. The combined operations employ about 332 people.

“When we were in government, we understood the need for the province to support our resource economy and meet the needs of an evolving industry,” Lathlin said. “If economic conditions have changed, the Pallister government must work with the community to protect good jobs and build an economy that helps families raise their children.”

The pending crisis in The Pas follows closely on layoffs by Omnitrax at the Port of Churchill, Lathlin noted. Omnitrax also cut its rail service in half, which leaves communities that rely on the rail line for fresh food facing possible shortages and higher prices, Lathlin added.

“The Conservative plan for the North emphasized little more than tourism, showing disregard or a superficial understanding of the real issues facing northerners,” Lathlin said. “The events still unfolding in Churchill demonstrate that northern Manitobans need stable long-term jobs, reliable transportation and food security -- things we always fought for when in government.”