Monday, November 24, 2008
House of Commons Debates

James Lunney (Conservative Party, MP-Nanaimo-Alberni)

I can assure persons concerned from the coast, particularly those in the forest industry, that there will be no blank cheque to any industrial sector. I am sure that any support offered by taxpayers through the government to the aerospace or the auto sector will only come after all stakeholders also contribute in the transition to a sustainable future. I think an example of that might be the $82 million commitment to Ford to develop an energy efficient engine.

This is not about helping industries that are not producing something that will be of value in a competitive and changing market. It is about creating sustainable opportunities for the future and creating a sustainable auto industry.

An example in my own riding of a company that has made heroic efforts in transition to a cost effective and sustainable future is the Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd. that took over the Harmac pulp mill in south Nanaimo. This company bid on a court ordered sale of the mill. It as an ownership structure that is quite unique in the industry. It has 200-plus employees, each of whom made significant personal investments in the mill to the tune of $25,000 each for a 25% stake in the business, partnering with other business interests. Pioneer Log Homes is a tremendous corporate citizen. Totzauer Holdings and the Sampson Group are successful private family companies. They each took 25% shares in the company.

With both employees and management having a stake in the success of the business has led to a very collaborative approach to labour relations. No labour contracts will need to be renegotiated until well into the future.

This mill is in a great location. It has a deep sea port, water resources and water treatment facilities. It has the potential to diversify into energy production. I use this as an example of all the stakeholders collaborating in a tough competitive market to make something happen and to sustain an industry that was in big trouble. We might have lost the mill. I think the community is extremely proud of its effort and we certainly want to see heroic efforts like these rewarded with success.

In a time of transition, we do need to collaborate and work together to ensure opportunities for success emerge from challenging times.