Since the Conservatives took office more than 30,000 forestry jobs have been lost – Rafferty

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John Rafferty MP
John Rafferty MP

John Rafferty MP

OTTAWA – Fort Frances and closure of the Resolute Forest Products mill were the topic of a question from Thunder Bay Rainy River MP John Rafferty in the House of Commons today. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) rose in Question Period to ask why the Conservative Government has abandoned resource dependent communities like Fort Frances after the economic downturn.

Rafferty rose during Question Period to press the Harper Conservatives on their policy regarding forestry dependent communities. “Since the Conservatives took office more than 30,000 forestry jobs have been lost in Northern Ontario,” Rafferty noted before asking, “Why has this government abandoned resource communities and hard working families in Northern Ontario and right across Canada?”

Rafferty spoke with representatives from Resolute Forest Products early on Tuesday ahead of their announcement of the idling of the Fort Frances mill. “We had a frank discussion about the needs of the workers, and I’m encouraged by the fact that Resolute have simply idled the operations at this point. It tells me they intend on getting the machines up and running again soon.”

“Resolute has been clear about the effect of the high dollar and how it has put the products from the Fort Frances and Thunder Bay mills at a competitive disadvantage,” Rafferty said. “We just have to get the Conservatives to listen, accept that their high dollar policy is hurting the forestry sector, and have some remedy. Otherwise I fear the bad news in the sector will continue.”