News of pending closures of two British Columbia sawmills in aftermath of pine beetle infestation 'not unexpected' says forests minister; province will work with Quesnel and Houston to help displaced Canfor, West Fraser employees

BEIJING , October 25, 2013 (press release) – In response to the announcements from Canfor and West Fraser about the closing of their mills in Houston and Quesnel, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson issued the following statement from Beijing, where he is concluding a forestry trade mission to Japan and China:

"First, I wish to extend my sympathies to the workers and their families affected by these two closures.

"I understand the companies are taking steps to address workers' needs either through offering jobs elsewhere in the companies, or providing assistance in searching for other employment. Provincial and federal assistance is also available for affected workers and provincial government staff will be working closely with the District of Houston and City of Quesnel.

"Unfortunately, given the mountain-pine-beetle infestation, this news is not unexpected. This government has invested over $884 million to mitigate the beetle's economic and environmental impacts, which includes supporting regional beetle action coalitions and economic diversification funding through the Northern Development Initiative Trust."

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