Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The fishing and forestry industries seek out their share of the money, the Northwest deals with an unfamiliar scenario a fire ban and the Anti Poverty society continues to develop their plans, all part of the Tuesday edition of the Daily News.

FISHERIES, FORESTRY NEED BAILOUT: MP-- If it's Good for GM, it's good for Northwest BC, that in a nutshell is the impression of Skeena-Bulkley Valley's NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who is pressing hard for bail out money for both the fishing and forestry industries of the Northwest. (see full story below)

The hot weather of the last three weeks has provided for a most unusual warning for Northwest residents, a Fire ban which takes effect on Thursday. The Northwest Fire Centre, which is based in Smithers has issued an open fire ban to apply for all BC Park land and all public and private land outside of organized areas. Prince Rupert is at a lower fire rating that further inland, but with lower than normal moisture levels and is part of the public awareness campaign.

With the city approving the plans for the Kootenay field, the Kaien Anti Poverty Society is preparing to move quickly forward to secure the location, though this growing season seems to have slipped by them. In addition, the cost of preparing the field and maintaining it will require that KAPS do a little fundraising in order to give the project as good a head start as possible. They also would like to see the basketball court section of the community park expanded and improved upon for the use of the residents of the Kootenay area.

From the sports page a celebration of the success of a Charles Hays Grade eight student who was named to the BC under 14 team. The Daily outlined the achievement of Celina Guadagni who spent the weekend in Vancouver at the under 14 camp. Her success marks the first time in ten years that a Charles Hays female athlete has been named to a provincial team.

Total pages in the Daily News (12)

Front page, headline story:

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Page one

The Northwest has been hit hard by a strong Canadian dollar and slower export markets, and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is wondering why the forestry and fishing industries are not getting their fair share of bailouts.

"The forestry workers are saying if its good enough for auto why isn't it good enough for us?" Cullen said. "The forestry sector has been in decline - serious decline - for the last four or five years, and you can say the last 25."

Cullen said the federal government has completely turned its back on the forestry and commercial fishing industries, and that it is time share some of the help directed at ailing auto industrial giants General Motors and Chrysler.

Fisheries representatives have been waging a similar financial battle on the waters, contending with the upswing of the loonie and higher prices for raw materials.

The Association of Seafood Producers, a representative for 11 shrimp producers in the province, said 3,000 workers are out of a job until the economy improves.

The lobster industry has faced a similar reality, though Prince Edward Island's fisheries minister Neil LeClair recently announced a $4 million product development and marketing fund.

So far, the federal government has provided $10 million to lobster fishermen in Eastern Canada to help develop products and technologies in the region.

To see something similar for North Coast pacific salmon fishers, Cullen said, would take some advocacy.

"The pressure has to mount in such a way that we can get direct support for commercial fishing." Cullen added that he believes the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has mismanaged the fisheries by not measuring and protecting the fish stocks properly, hurting coastal fishers.

"We've had report after report showing that (DFO) is unable to account for any of the habitat they have to protect. If you can't measure, you can't manage.

"It's just misery on top of more misery for the North Coast fishery."

However, one forestry sector representative doesn't believe that all is doom and gloom for his industry, but did say that now was the time to develop sound policy for the industry for better times.

Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), called on governments to look beyond the current economic crisis in preparing Canada for what promises to be a more competitive, resource-hungry global marketplace of the future.

"Using a good Canadian analogy the hockey game - one can argue that simply reacting to the recession is like skating to where the puck was six months ago. Whereas preparing for future economic growth by dealing with issues that will really make a difference to our future competitiveness. is like' skating to where the puck is going to be - strategically a much smarter play," said Lazar.

With files from The Canadian Press

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