Around 100 members of the community came together tonight (Tuesday) for a rally to support forestry workers who will be impacted by Canfor’s closure of the pulp line at the PG Pulp and Paper Mill.
The rally was held at the Civic Centre, where Premier David Eby was inside giving a keynote address at the BC Natural Resources Forum.
Earlier today, Eby announced a new $90 million Manufacturing Jobs Fund.
“When David Eby did his announcement today, and he’s talking about $90 million of money for innovation to invest in machinery, I mean that’s a great idea, but how come Canfor never spent some of that $800 million in profits on machinery and innovation?” Rally Organizer James Steidle said.
“Why is the public bailing out an industry that will not invest in this town?”
Canfor is a company owned by the Jim Pattison Group.
“He’ll say he’s had some of the best years ever with this pandemic,” Steidle said.
“He’s made billions of dollars at all of his outlets, sawmills, pulpmills, his grocery stores. Every mid-size grocery store in this town is owned by Jimmy Pattison.”
Prince George City Councillor Brian Skakun, who also works for Canfor, also spoke at the rally.
“Our current city council is going to do all we can to convince Canfor to remain in our community, and we hope keep PG Pulp open,” Skakun.
“I was on holidays when I got the bulletin that the mill was going to close down, and Canfor’s been talking about that for years, but when I actually saw that, my heart was just broken. I worked at PG Pulp for seven years, I’ve been at Intercon for close to 30 years now, I’m going to keep my job, but I’m going to lose so many incredible people and friends that I’ve made in both mills, and they’re going to lose their jobs, and we’re going to lose all the other jobs that are attached to pulp mill, and it’s really tough to take in.”
During Eby’s announcement this afternoon, he said he spoke with some of the workers affected by the closure.
“We will be standing with them and supporting them through this incredibly difficult time for them and their families, the provincial government is there for them,” Eby said.
“We will be reaching out to Canfor to have similar conversations with them to make sure this transition for those workers is as painless as possible for them.”
Eby’s office confirmed he and Prince George Mayor Simon Yu will be meeting tomorrow. (Wednesday)