QUEEN’S PARK – Kenora—Rainy River MPP Howard Hampton says more Northern Ontario forest sector jobs will be put at risk if the McGuinty Liberals allow Abitibi-Bowater to sell off its hydro dams.
“Abitibi-Bowater’s hydro dams in Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario have provided paper mills in Fort Frances and Iroquois Falls with low cost electricity which has allowed those mills to survive when other paper mills have been forced to close because of the McGuinty Liberals policy of raising industrial hydro rates through the roof,” said Hampton.
“Now if the McGuinty Liberals allow those low cost electricity power dams to be sold off, it will put the paper mills in Fort Frances and Iroquois Falls in the same desperate situation, resulting in more job losses and more struggling communities.”
Hampton says the McGuinty Liberals should tell Abitibi-Bowater very clearly that it only has access to Northern Ontario’s excellent wood fibre and hydro dams if it continues to operate paper mills and maintain jobs in the region.
“The McGuinty Liberals need to fight to keep jobs in Northern Ontario, rather than selling off our resources and allowing the jobs to locate somewhere else,” Hampton said.
“When the McGuinty Liberals became the government of Ontario in 2003, there were 19 operating paper machines in Northwestern Ontario that employed thousands of workers. Now there are only three of those paper machines operating and thousands of workers are hurting. We can’t afford more forest sector jobs to be put at risk by an irresponsible McGuinty government.”