Kamloops can lead in forestry campaign

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Three people wearing hard hats and hi-viz clothing outdoors on the roof of a pulp mill building with mountains in the background.

On May 30, Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle joined Local 10-B President Sheldon Morice and 1st Vice President Wes Mitchell for a tour of the Kruger pulp mill in Kamloops, B.C.

While in Kamloops, McGarrigle and Unifor leaders met with Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson, City Councillor Katie Neustaeter, and Kruger management to discuss the mill’s struggles with a regular economic access to fibre with which to run the mill. Kruger’s facility is not alone in its fibre supply troubles:

“Access to fibre is a concern across the interior and the coast. Kamloops is a key forestry hub in the interior, but its continued success relies on action from the provincial government,” said McGarrigle. 

In discussions with Hamer-Jackson and Neustaeter, Unifor raised the possibility of Kamloops city council adopting a motion of support for forestry jobs and, in turn, submitting the motion to the upcoming meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). By putting forestry on the agenda of UBCM, a broader discussion can take place to help place even greater pressure on the provincial government to act.

“The B.C. Liberals made a real mess of the forestry sector from 2002–2015. The BCNDP has made gains that have helped restore the industry, but we have only just begun to get forestry back on track,” McGarrigle added. “Time is of the essence. Dozens of forestry communities depend on decisive action from the government.”

The forestry motion could be considered at a Kamloops council meeting this month. 

Fibre supply and strengthening B.C.’s entire forestry industry to grow good jobs and support forestry communities is a core component of the joint campaign initiated by Unifor, the United Steelworkers, and the PPWC. The campaign published a comprehensive paper that can be found online.

Media Contact

Ian Boyko

National Communications Representative - Western Region