Gerry Reid, Leader of the Official Opposition Leader and MHA for the
District of Twillingate - Fogo, says government must take immediate measures
to deal with the social and economic impacts should Abitibi Consolidated
follow through with itís proposed closure of operations in Stephenville and
scale back of production in Grand Falls - Windsor.
"While government must
do everything it can to work with Abitibi Consolidated to prevent the
shutdowns this Fall, consideration should be given to setting up a committee
to develop an action plan to deal with the impact on affected communities,"
said Reid. "The loss of over 400 direct jobs in rural Newfoundland and
Labrador will have far reaching impacts over the short and long term.
"The Ministers of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Innovation,
Trade and Rural Development should immediately become involved to develop an
action plan on a go-forward basis. The mills, logging operations and
spin-off industries in dozens of rural communities will be devastated. We
must get a better sense of the number of people, businesses and communities
that are impacted by this decision and what economic effects may be felt in
the local and provincial economy.
"It is essential that government continue to negotiate with Abitibi
Consolidated and do everything possible to ensure that both these mills
remain open in the province. I believe there is a future for both operations
in these communities.
"Government cannot sit back and watch Abitibi walk away from this
province without any further talks. The Premier and Minister of Natural
Resources had stated on a number of occasions over the past number of months
that they had this situation under control. It is now time for government to
step in and take action on behalf of these workers and their families."