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Government announces $1.5B aid package


November 24, 2005
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The Federal Government has unveiled a $1.5 billion aid package for the forestry sector.

The Federal Government has unveiled a $1.5 billion aid package for the forestry sector.

“No other industry has been subjected to such measures,” Minister of Natural Resources John McCallum said of the $5 billion collected in illegal duties by the U.S. “Two days ago, the Americans confirmed they will comply with the rules of NAFTAbut we need to support workers and their firms while we’re waiting.”

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The package comes in two parts. A total of $800 million will be made available in loan insurance for companies looking to invest in their operations. The remaining money will then be subdivided into five categories. A sum of $150 million will go directly to support workers and their communities. An additional $215 million will be used to help the industry buy the latest technology to improve competitiveness. This money will largely be used by pulp and paper companies. The development of strategies to innovate the forestry sector and to make the most of Canadian fibre will be granted $90 million. A total of $66 million will go to market development and growth, while $50 million will be used to support bioenergy and the encouragement of alternative energy sources.

As for whether or not the allotted capital will be sufficient, McCallum responded by saying, “as Prime Minister Paul Martin said, if more money is needed, more money will be forthcoming.”

McCallum pledged his support to the sector, confirming the government’s avowal to stand by the industry while it struggles through its most arduous times. “The government will be there as long as it takes,” he said.


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