Aid package leaves much to be desired
September 30, 2005 By Pulp & Paper Canada
A highly anticipated aid package announced by the Ontario Liberal government has left those campaigning for the for…
A highly anticipated aid package announced by the Ontario Liberal government has left those campaigning for the forestry sector frustrated and disappointed. The government pledged to doll out $330 million over a five-year period, the bulk of which will be spent on programs designed to create employment in the industry. Of the sum, $150 million will be spent in three years on the development of a “Forest Sector Prosperity Fund,” and $28 million will go to the upkeep of roads critical for forest access.
Industry leaders entertained high hopes in the weeks preceding the announcement that energy would be tabled and treated as an issue of critical importance. As delineated by Ontario region vice president of the CEP, the package, “virtually ignored the recommendations contained in the report prepared by the Minister’s Council on Competitiveness in that there is nothing but a vague promise of further action on the critical issue of energy costs. There are huge parts of this province facing economic devastation because of mill closures and other cutbacks. And the government’s $350 million package will do nothing to lift the boot of uncertainty from the necks of those communities.”
Canadian Press has reported Premier Dalton McGuinty as having conceded the package will do little to prevent further mill closures and layoffs, but that it is instead aimed at helping Ontario’s forestry companies be more competitive.
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