MP Nathan Cullen said provincial leaders could have done more to prevent closures like the one in Houston.
West Fraser and Canfor both announced major mill closures, Canfor closing their Quesnel mill and West Fraser closing their Houston mill.
Both mills together will mean the loss of over 400 jobs.
While Cullen said in a release just after the closure it was “a blow few people realistically expected,” he seemed to be taking a different angle at last week’s regional press scrum.
Instead, he was saying the B.C. Liberals could have done more to prevent mill closures like the ones in Houston and Quesnel.
“I can’t believe we have a provincial government that seems so tone deaf to the realities on the page and the realities on the page have been saying that they’ve not been allocating the wood properly and in a sense giving almost incentives for companies to move their business elsewhere and certainly raw log exports along with the beetle tragedy have ensured that the companies are going to be harder and harder pressed to make a go of it.”
He recalled a mill opening in Kitwanga he attended a couple of years ago with the premier and the same mill shutting down only four months later.
I don’t know how you can look at the results of the forestry sector anything other than an abject failure of policy and government just absolutely ignoring one of the most important industries in B.C.,” he said. “It’s frustrating to me.”
While he concede the pine beetle epidemic did have an impact, he said lack of action on the part of the province has created a “manufactured crisis.”
“You can’t just keep pointing at the beetle and say all the fault is there. There’s certainly a big impact but the province has been nowhere and photo ops by Christy Clark don’t actually put food on the table.”