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Northern B.C. MP speaks out on sawmill closures in Parliament

MP Taylor Bachrach called on the federal government to support families affected by Canfor closures
Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses Parliament regarding Canfor's Houston mill closure.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach has raised Canfor’s Houston mill closure in Parliament.

He called on the federal government to help Houston families and businesses affected by Canfor’s closure of its sawmill, announced last month.

“There are few things more devastating for a rural community than learning that its major employer is closing its doors,” said Bachrach in his statement.

“It’s going to put 300 mill employees out of work -- that's 10 per cent of the populations. And it will affect hundreds more who work for contractors and local businesses.”

Bachrach said that despite solutions brought forward by the mayor of Houston, the local forestry industry, and the Steelworkers Union -- including federal job creation and re-instatement of EI flexibility -- the Liberal government has taken no action.

"The BC government is already on the ground, working with the people of Houston to find solutions. We need the federal government to step up and play a role as well," said Bachrach.

Canfor announced it would close its Houston mill in April, citing weak markets making its continued operation uneconomical.

However, a statement by the company called the closure temporary, saying there is a plan to rebuild the facility with newer equipment but that will be determined by approval of Canfor’s board of directors.

Recent mill closures have been affecting communities across northern B.C. as Canfor is permanently closing its sawmill and pellet plant in Chetwynd and the Jan. 11 closure of Canfor Pulp in Prince George saw about 90 union workers laid off.