Although the 55 dollar million Softwood Industry Community Economic Adjustment Initiative was announced in 2002, not a single dollar has made it to the companies involved, until now. On Wednesday, May 5th 2004 the federal government announced that the funds would begin to be dispersed.
It has people wondering what prompted the change of mind. ?Is this just an innocent coincidence,? asks NDP candidate Michael Hunter, ?or is it a case of withholding vital funding for communities caught in the trade dispute until it suited the liberals politically?
Hunter, who is running in Prince George ? Peace River, says the problem is made worse by government inaction. ?Canadians want someone to stand up and take some real action that will resolve this dispute,? he says. ?After years of American protectionism, the best Paul Martin could do was to get a photo op with George Bush. We need more than that.?
The current MP in Hunter?s riding does not escape unscathed in the discussion about softwood lumber. The NDP candidate commented that, ?Jay Hill has had ten years and four different parties and gotten nothing done with any of them. Unfortunately for the people in Prince George ? Peace River, we cannot count on him to provide effective opposition to the Liberals. It?s time for a change.?
Speculation is high that a federal election date of June 28, 2004 may soon be set. Parties are in the process of lining up candidates and establishing campaign teams.
For more information contact:
Bernice Greengrass 250-242-5040