Pallister Government Must Stop Dithering And Help Families in The Pas

THE PAS— The Pallister government must work with resource companies to deliver real solutions to help keep the Tolko paper mill open, NDP MLA Amanda Lathlin said today.

“The crisis in The Pas is very real and will be devastating for workers and their families,” Lathlin said. “Our forests are resources that belong to all Manitobans. Government has a clear role in helping families now before they lose their livelihoods and their homes.”

Lathlin pointed out that even the Harper government understood the need to invest in our resource economy, as they and the province did for Tolko in 2009. Lathlin also further urged the Pallister government to be open about what supports Tolko had requested and what the province refused to consider. Specifically, did Tolko request:

  • Upgrades to road infrastructure to and from the paper mill?
  • Support through the Manitoba Trucking Productivity Improvement Fund?
  • Help to gain access to timber closer to the mill that would reduce transportation costs?
  • Adjustments to stumpage fees?
  • Assistance to move off of Bunker C oil to more sustainable and cost-efficient alternatives? and
  • Help in gaining access to improved rail transportation to reduce costs of getting product to market?

“We understand the need to work with companies that face challenges due to turbulent economic conditions,” Lathlin said. “The town of The Pas also understands this and is willing to make significant sacrifices to help preserve up to 1,000 jobs that will be lost in the region. We urge the Pallister government to step up and work with the company for the benefit of The Pas and the families that rely on the mill.”

The crisis in The Pas follows closely on a decision by Omnitrax to cut jobs at the Port of Churchill and reduce service and food shipments to communities across the North, Lathlin noted.

“The Pallister government has admitted they have no plan for the North other than tourism advertising,” Lathlin said. “Northern Manitobans need stable long-term jobs, reliable transportation and food security, just like every other part of the province. Why won’t the Pallister government fight for these basic rights for northerners?”

Follow this link to the 2009 provincial government commitment to training: http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/?item=5260&posted=2009-02-17