Forest industry mismanaged: Wyse

Cariboo workers are paying the price for Liberal mismanagement of the forestry industry,” says Cariboo-Chilcotin NDP candidate Charlie Wyse.

Cariboo workers are paying the price for Liberal mismanagement of the forestry industry,” said Charlie Wyse, NDP candidate for Cariboo-Chilcotin.

“We’ve got mills closing, we’ve lost hundreds of forestry jobs in the past decade, and the Liberal government has failed to provide the skills training necessary to prepare workers for the opportunities that do exist.”

Wyse said hundreds of forestry workers have lost their jobs in the past decade, and it’s time to take practical steps to help the industry and the workforce recover.

He described Friday’s permanent closure of Tolko’s Creekside Mill in Williams Lake as a “real shock” for workers and the community.

Wyse pointed out that demand for lumber has surged in the U.S. as a result of devastating storms on the East Coast, but the industry isn’t able to respond because of a critical shortage of skilled labour.

The head of the Central Interior Logging Association, MaryAnne Arcand, has said northern B.C. is facing a shortage of 2,000 drivers and equipment operators.

“The Liberal government has neglected the industry and failed to prepare B.C. workers with the skills they need,” said Wyse.

It’s time for a change in priorities. Adrian Dix and the NDP will focus on restoring the land base, generating value-added jobs, and making skills training more affordable. These are practical steps to generate jobs and prepare workers for today’s economy.”

Wyse said the mid timber supply report indicated there is no existing inventory for the region.

“At that time I commented: how does the mill, the individual worker and the community plan when nobody knows how much fibre is available?”

Wyse will run for the NDP in the May 2013 election, he said.