Cullen seeks urgent meeting on Eurocan

OTTAWASkeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen has asked for an urgent meeting with the new Minister of Natural Resources to discuss Eurocan, as well as a commitment of federal funds to ensure Eurocan’s $33M Pulp and Paper $33M Pulp and Paper Black Liquor Tax Subsidy isn’t lost locally.

The folllowing is the complete text of Cullen’s letter to Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis:

Honorable Christian Paradis

Minister of Natural Resources, MINO/MINO Natural Resources Canada 580 Booth Street, 21st Floor, Room. C7-1 Ottawa, ON Canada  K1A 0E4

January 22, 2010

Hon. Christian Paradis,

Congratulations on your new post as Minister of Natural Resources.  I trust you will find the position to be an engaging and lively one.  Your department’s work is essential to the functioning of a healthy, vibrant, and profitable country.  I am looking forward to working with you.

I am writing today to draw your attention to a time-sensitive matter which requires your response. As you may know, West Fraser’s Eurocan Pulp and Paper qualified for $33.3 million of the $1 billion Black Liquor Tax Subsidy that the Ministry of Natural Resources provided across the country to sustain the forestry industry.  On October 28, 2009, after receiving these funds, Eurocan announced the permanent closure of the mill effective January 31, 2010.  Eurocan will be taking the money from the tax subsidy and spending it elsewhere, leaving over 2000 people out of work and devastating the communities of Kitimat and Terrace, BC.

On behalf of my constituents, I want to ensure that the money earned by Eurocan from the subsidy will be made available to a potential buyer or returned to the community rather than spent elsewhere. I believe it is incumbent upon the federal government to ensure that funds in the equivalent amount are made available for transition planning and the creation of alternative economic opportunities.

In addition, Eurocan Industrial Viability Group is seeking funds to assist with a viability study and to keep the mill warm so it will remain appealing to potential buyers.  Local Union 298 and 1127 have already written to request financial assistance with these costly initiatives.

This is an urgent matter, the very survival of these communities may hang in the balance. I would like to speak with you or one of your senior staff members at the very earliest opportunity to discuss the Government’s response prior to the mill’s closure on January 31.

Thank you for your time and your prompt attention to this matter.  Please contact my Ottawa office to schedule a meeting at your earliest convenience.  I look forward to proactively pursuing a solution to this matter with you.

Sincerely,

Nathan Cullen MP Skeena – Bulkley Valley

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Contact: Tim Howlett, Legislative Assistant, 613-889-4055, Cullen0@parl.gc.ca