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Rural Quebec mayors worried for forestry future


October 3, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

These are desperate times in some of Quebec’s rural communities, regional mayors are saying. According to a recent …

These are desperate times in some of Quebec’s rural communities, regional mayors are saying. According to a recent report by the CBC, a faltering forestry industry is posing an ominous threat to many towns.

“It’s very worrisome,” CBC reported mayor Gabriel Martel of Saint-Andr-du-Lac-St-Jean as saying at an annual meeting of Quebec’s regional mayors. “We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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The Canadian dollar, compounded by the softwood lumber dispute, has ravaged profits and forced companies to slash jobs and close machines and entire mills. As CBC confirmed Otter Lake mayor Terry Richard as saying, families that worked in mills for generations are now being forced to deal with a very shaky future.

“People for many years never left the county,” he said. “They stayed in Pontiac because their fathers before them worked in the mills and they chose to follow in their father’s footsteps. It’s basically all they’ve done all their life and all they want to do.”

The mayors are calling on the Quebec government to support the industry though investment, and to prepare workers through retraining programs, CBC said.


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