Mr. Speaker, if I were to mention $400 million in sales, $700 million in payroll, $4 billion in processed products, $500 million in tax revenue, 29,000 jobs and 35,000 producers, you would probably think I was referring to a rapidly expanding key area of economic activity in Canada. But the numbers I just mentioned represent the economic contribution made to the forestry sector by private lumber producers in Quebec.
However, this is becoming a thing of the past, since the Conservative government is ignoring these owners and the impact of the forestry crisis on them. Today, they are on the brink of bankruptcy, facing the inevitable and in despair. In the past two years, they have suffered a total loss of revenue of $70 million and, unfortunately, it is not over.
The government's trust fund should help them continue to develop one of our most precious natural resources, our forests, with their customary respect, professionalism and consideration for sustainable development. But such is not the case. These private lumber producers might as well not even exist as far as the Conservative government is concerned.