Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty urges conservative MPs to demand action for forest sector, says Natural Resources Canada data shows 'massive job losses'

OTTAWA, Ontario , August 4, 2010 (press release) – Today, New Democrat MP and Forestry Critic John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River) called on Conservative Members of Parliament to stand up to the Harper government and demand real action for the forest sector.

“The crisis is worsening and Conservatives who represent some of the 300 communities that depend on the forestry sector need to stand up and demand action on behalf of the people in their ridings,” said Rafferty. “From Bridgewater to Campbell River, from Kamouraska to Kenora to Kamloops, there are Conservative MPs who sell Ottawa’s economic policies to their constituents instead of defending their constituents in Ottawa.”

Rafferty’s remarks follow the release of new data by Natural Resources Canada showing steep declines in Canada’s many provinces.

“In each province we’re talking about massive job loss – more than 1,000 a month in British Columbia and Ontario alone,” said Rafferty. “We need those Conservative MPs to prove their worth and get something done. Re-announcing inadequate investment just isn’t good enough.”

According to Natural Resources Canada the forestry industry accounted for 1.7% of Canada’s overall GDP in 2009 which is down from 1.8% in 2008 and 2.5% in 2006 – the first full year of the Harper government. In 2009, forestry related economic activity directly employed 195,320 Canadians; a loss of 36,000 jobs in one year and more than 77,000 since 2006.

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