Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod announced she was named as the Conservative Party’s Shadow Minister for Natural Resources (Forestry and Mining) today, Nov. 29.
“I am stepping into this role as the crisis in the softwood lumber industry continues to unfold,” McLeod said. “At least 20 mills have been forced to shut down or curtail production. As a result, more than 4,000 people across 27 communities in B.C. are at this moment, out of work. This does not include the thousands of contractors and small businesses that have been affected indirectly.”
McLeod pointed to the fact that Canada still has no softwood lumber agreement with the United States. This means companies in the local area are facing devasting tariffs.
“Justin Trudeau has failed to make good on his promise to resolve the dispute,” says McLeod. “The challenges facing this industry are vast and complicated. The amount of trees available for logging plummeted in the wake of the pine-beetle infestation, which is now heading east through Alberta and Saskatchewan. Locally here in the interior of B.C., and northern Ontario as well, have faced devasting forest fires.”
Mining is another key component of this portfolio, says McLeod, adding that the sector represents 3.6 per cent of Canada’s total GDP, and employs over 634,000 people.
“This includes an increasing number of Indigenous people. In 2016, 12 per cent of the mining workforce was Indigenous, up from eight per cent in 2011,” she says. “I am grateful for the time I have had as the Shadow Minister for Indigenous and Northern Affairs. It has been four years of challenges and new experiences, and it was an honour and a privilege to meet so many First Nations leaders from across Canada, including many young people. I know this work will guide me in my new portfolio.”