NEWS RELEASE · 25th January 2010
MP Nathan Cullen - Smithers
Honorable Christian Paradis
Minister of Natural Resources, MINO/MINO
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 21st Floor, Room. C7-1
Canada K1A 0E4
January 22, 2010
Hon. Christian Paradis,
Congratulations on your new post as Minister of Natural Resources. I trust you will find the position to be an engaging and lively one. Your departmentís work is essential to the functioning of a healthy, vibrant, and profitable country. I am looking forward to working with you.
I am writing today to draw your attention to a time-sensitive matter which requires your response. As you may know, West Fraserís Eurocan Pulp and Paper qualified for $33.3 million of the $1 billion Black Liquor Tax Subsidy that the Ministry of Natural Resources provided across the country to sustain the forestry industry. On October 28, 2009, after receiving these funds, Eurocan announced the permanent closure of the mill effective January 31, 2010. Eurocan will be taking the money from the tax subsidy and spending it elsewhere, leaving over 2000 people out of work and devastating the communities of Kitimat and Terrace, BC.
On behalf of my constituents, I want to ensure that the money earned by Eurocan from the subsidy will be made available to a potential buyer or returned to the community rather than spent elsewhere. I believe it is incumbent upon the federal government to ensure that funds in the equivalent amount are made available for transition planning and the creation of alternative economic opportunities.
In addition, Eurocan Industrial Viability Group is seeking funds to assist with a viability study and to keep the mill warm so it will remain appealing to potential buyers. Local Union 298 and 1127 have already written to request financial assistance with these costly initiatives.
This is an urgent matter, the very survival of these communities may hang in the balance. I would like to speak with you or one of your senior staff members at the very earliest opportunity to discuss the Governmentís response prior to the millís closure on January 31.
Thank you for your time and your prompt attention to this matter. Please contact my Ottawa office to schedule a meeting at your earliest convenience. I look forward to proactively pursuing a solution to this matter with you.
Nathan Cullen MP
Skeena Ė Bulkley Valley
eurocan permanent closure
Comment by mary murphy on 27th January 2010
Nathan: our discussion worked and I thank you, i did get a response from Pat Bell...The government is not in the buisness of keeping mills warm nor investing in pulp and paper mills. permanent
Comment by Mike Forward on 26th January 2010
This letter is a perfect example of why so many voted for Nathan Cullen in the last federal election.
All too often, Canadian politics - at the municipal, provincial and federal levels - can degrade into mudslinging and personal attacks. Instead of offering any kind of constructive criticism or offering to cross party lines to reach positive solutions, polticians can get into party-ideoligical debates which do nothing but exacerbate a situation.
What Mr. Cullen is showing here is that he is willing to overlook political differences, to cross the ideological gaps, and speak to a member of another party in a civil manner and offer a hand to reach a constructive solution. It would have been very easy for Mr. Cullen to fall into the typical refrain of "fighting this to the end, being opposed to the government, thinking the government is foolish or ill informed", etc. No--instead, Mr. Cullen has respectfully requested a meeting to discuss the issues at hand in person, rather than through the media.
Regardless of the outcome of any meetings, I say bravo to Mr. Cullen for the incredibly classy gesture.
Comment by Gerry on 26th January 2010
West Fraser has decided to pull the rug out from under the innocent hard working people of Kitimat and still walk away with $30,000,000 of the tax payers hard earned dollars for the black- liquor subsidy. West Fraser is acting like a big spoiled bully, someone has to hold them accountable. That money should be used to try and save the mill in Kitimat, thanks for trying to hold West Fraser responsible Nathan. Harper and Campbell should be here trying to rectify this dire situation instead they sit idly by !
A little Late
Comment by Bill Vollrath on 26th January 2010
I notice the date this letter was sent is Jan. 22/2010 - Uhhhh...it's closing in 7 days dude.