VICTORIA (December 3, 2021) – With Paper Excellence indefinitely shutting down Powell River’s biggest employer, the Catalyst Paper Mill — and with zero action being taken by Forests Minister Katrine Conroy or local Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons to prevent the closure — the BC Liberals are providing the NDP government with concrete steps it can immediately take today to assist the more than 400 people potentially losing their jobs.
“The fact that this government continues to ignore this crisis is simply appalling, and I cannot understand how they can keep turning their backs on this important industry and the families that rely on it,” said BC Liberal Forestry Critic John Rustad. “This most recent paper mill closure will see at least 400 employees lose their jobs right before Christmas, and we are hearing that these numbers could be even higher.”
The NDP government has said supports will be in place for the hundreds of families affected, however, the NDP’s typically sluggish response does not inspire confidence in quick action being taken.
The BC Liberals are proposing four immediate steps that can be taken by this government to support those in need:
- Provide immediate financial support to the families impacted by this closure, so they can pay bills and provide for their families this holiday season;
- Provide immediate financial support to the community affected by the loss of its major employer;
- Send Forests Minister Katrine Conroy to Powell River, to face workers directly and hear their concerns; and
- Establish a cabinet committee to explore potential alternate economic drivers that can assist forest-dependent communities going forward.