Harper Announces Forestry Aid For Saskatchewan

Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 15:20



Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced Saskatchewan’s share of a new $1 billion trust for communities hurt by layoffs.


Speaking in Prince Albert this morning, Harper said the province would receive $36.4 million to help retrain workers, and assist communities in industries like the forestry sector.


The money will come over three years, but is dependent on the Opposition allowing the upcoming Tory budget to pass.


Harper also made it clear there are some things the provinces shouldn’t expect to do with the funds, such as providing bailouts to forestry companies.


Despite this statement, Prince Albert Mayor Jim Scarrow says he’s still encouraged by what Harper had to say — and he hasn’t given up hope the Prince Albert pulp mill will someday re-open.


Premier Brad Wall says he’s also pleased with today’s announcement — and he’s not ruling out using the dollars to indirectly help companies like Domtar reopen their Saskatchewan operations.


Both the federal Liberals and the provincial NDP are calling today’s proceedings into question.


The NDP’s forestry critic, Darcy Furberm says the province’s forestry sector needs more than $12 million a year in possible federal help to retrain workers, and adds that Wall may have been misleading in suggesting that the money could be used to help re-open the Prince Albert pulp mill.


Furber says it seems Wall and Harper are on different pages when it comes to the use of the funding.


Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale is claiming that the plan is two years too late, and adds that the money is not enough.