Premier John Horgan takes questions at the B.C. legislature rose garden, July 30, 2018. (Black Press)

Pulp mill struggles long-term, Premier John Horgan says

U.S. ‘assault’ on B.C.’s Catalyst Paper threatens workers, retirees

The B.C. government’s move to restructure Catalyst Paper’s pension obligations is only the start of a long-term restructuring of the forest industry, Premier John Horgan says.

The immediate threat is the imposition of anti-dumping duties totalling 22 per cent that took effect in April, which Horgan called “an assault on our industries” and unfair trade practices by the U.S.

“We’ve been meeting with Catalyst and the communities they operate in, Powell River, Crofton, North Cowichan and Port Alberni, since April when we held a conference here with local MLAs,” Horgan told reporters at the B.C. legislature Monday.

“But there are also underlying issues when it comes to pulp production in British Columbia, and the primary issue is access to fibre. As we’ve seen an increase in the export of raw logs, as we’ve seen a decline in the number of sawmills, which means there are fewer chips, there’s less feedstock for the pulp sector. That’s one of the fundamental issues that existed prior to the tariff question coming forward.”

RELATED: Unions protest Trump’s paper duties

Horgan said the regulation change made Friday to extend Catalyst’s time to pay off a pension funding shortfall is designed to prevent a scenario faced by Sears employees in B.C. “who went to the bottom of the line when it came to addressing receivership.”

Keeping pulp and paper mills from meeting a similar fate, as they struggle with the latest round of anti-dumping duties that protect U.S. mills from Canadian competition, is the immediate task. The latest duties target uncoated paper such as newsprint, and has raised protests from U.S. newspaper companies that it is pushing their costs higher.

B.C. trade officials expect that with the deteriorating trade relationship with the U.S. in recent months, tariffs on paper products could go even higher, up to 28.5 per cent, as early as August.

Catalyst moved in June to sell its U.S. mills to Nine Dragons Paper Ltd., a Hong Kong company. Catalyst indicated the sale eases the company’s debt position and allows it to focus on its B.C. operations, which employ 1,500 people.

Just Posted

Port Hardy Fire Rescue looking to replace old equipment

PHFR recently requested funding from the district for new SCBA equipment, citing a $35,000 cost.

Port Hardy council has sent a second cannabis application to LCRB for consideration

Port Hardy council voted in favour to have a cannabis application moved forward to LCRB.

Port Hardy water, sewer and garbage rates may go up

Water rates would increase by 2 per cent, garbage by 2.5 per cent, and sewer by 4 per cent.

VIDEO: North Island female minor hockey jamboree a big success story

“Success is measured by the smiles on the players’ faces, not by the scoreboard.”

FOLLOW-UP: Shelley Downey speaks on her Conservative candidacy

“I anticipate requesting a leave of absence from Port McNeill council,” Downey said.

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Most Read