Bands Want Seat On Pulp Mill Task Force

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 at 15:26



The outgoing chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council says he’s slightly disappointed by the province’s apparent failure to include First Nations on a task force designed to address the Prince Albert pulp and paper mill closure.


Weyerhaeuser announced yesterday that operations at the site would cease early next year, throwing almost 700 people out of work.


The company cited poor market conditions as its reason for making the move.


Gary Merasty says bands of the Woodland Cree have a direct interest in the forestry sector, as evidenced by their investment in Wappawekka Lumber — a company that Weyerhaeuser partly owns.


Merasty feels the province should be looking to whoever they can for help in solving the situation the mill finds itself in — and that includes the Aboriginal community.


Meanwhile, Prince Albert MLA Eldon Lautermilch says the premier’s verbal omission of First Nations groups on the task force was an oversight.


Lautermilch insists that while details still have to be worked out, there will definitely be First Nations representation on the panel.