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

New Lake Country school sports fields to include track and field oval

School rec facilities to be developed on former Aspen Grove golf course

Freezing rain, some snow forecasted for Okanagan-Similkameen-Shuswap

Environment Canada forecasting freezing rain and snow for much of the region

Rockets stumble again, lose 6th straight to Moose Jaw Warriors

The Rockets will have to bounce back with weekend games against the top two teams in the league

UPDATE: Homeowners keep fire at bay in Oyama garage

Fire crews are reportedly on scene of a structure fire on Broadwater Road

Comedians to share laughs to help Kelowna school

Fundraiser begins effort to replace $20,000 stolen from South Rutland Elementary PAC

Music Rundown: Where you should be watching live music this week

Fill your calendar this week with these great shows

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Most Read