Harper Sells Out Forestry Workers

Jean Crowder and Zeni MaartmanThe Harper government's policies have been devastating to forest-dependent communities, say the New Democrats. NDP candidates Jean Crowder and Zeni Maartman say a vote for the New Democrats is a vote for a renewed forest industry.

"New Democrats will fight to restrict log exports, because Canadian forests should be used to create Canadian jobs," said Crowder, the NDP candidate for Nanaimo-Cowichan. "And we'll work to create opportunities for secondary and value-added manufacturing, to get the most jobs from our forests.."

The NDP position stands in stark contrast to the sellout by the Harper government, says Maartman, the NDP candidate in Alberni-Qualicum. "After a decade of winning arbitration awards against the Americans, the Harper government capitulated to the Bush administration's demands and signed a bad softwood deal," said Maartman. "They left a billion dollars of Canadian money on the table, and that money went straight into the pockets of the U.S. companies trying to drag down our industry. Mr. Harper was so eager to play nice with Washington that he sold out the industry that drives Vancouver Island."

New Democrat Leader Jack Layton set out a variety of steps he would take, as Prime Minister, to restore and revitalize the forestry industry in Canada. He said he will start by ending "Harper's sell-out 2007 softwood lumber agreement" and working to open U.S. markets based on fair trade in lumber.

Layton said that, if elected Prime Minister, he would also:

a.. Restrict raw log exports to make sure Canadian jobs come first.
b.. Create opportunities for businesses and workers through value-added development, and innovation.
c.. Encourage and accelerate sustainable forestry practices.
d.. Overhaul Ottawa's inadequate program to combat the pine beetle and other threats.

"Conservatives have made it clear that they think forestry is a sunset industry in Canada," said Crowder. "The tens of thousands of Canadians who rely on this industry - including generations of Vancouver Islanders - just don't register with the Harper crew."

"New Democrats understand the close tie we have with the woods," said Maartman. "Instead of abandoning the industry, we think the time is ripe to strengthen and renew forestry so that it supports families for generations to come."

Emphasizing the need to develop value-added processing in Canada, instead of continually shipping raw logs out of Canada, Layton said "There is nothing that workers in other countries do to Canadian lumber that couldn't be done right here. It should be Canadians refining and processing our wood," said the New Democrat's leader. "That means electing a Prime Minister who puts you and your family first."

For more information on the NDP election campaign in Nanaimo, call Darlene Thorburn (Zeni Maartman campaign) at 250-248-8135 or Calinda Brown (Jean Crowder campaign) at 250-746-4458.

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