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

VIDEO: Child among injured in two-vehicle crash

T-bone MVA sent at least three people to hospital Sunday afternoon

Column: It’s shaping up to be an interesting race in Langley

The municipal election is less than two months away, and recent developments… Continue reading

Kay’s cars — the big and the small of it

A Cruise-in participants talks about getting her very first vehicle at the age of two

An old-time barley harvest for Langley farm family

Members of the public watched a 1940s combine in action at the MacInnes Farms Threshing Bee

Arena opens at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre

Grand procession brings Aldergrove ice arena users to new facility

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read