Mr. Speaker, there are few things more devastating for a small rural community than learning that its main employer is closing its doors. That is the news the people of Houston, B.C. received last month when Canfor announced it is closing its sawmill in that community. Three hundred mill employees are going to lose their jobs. That is 10% of the community's population and there are hundreds more who work for local contractors and other businesses.
Mayor Shane Brienen sees a path forward for his community, but he has called on the federal government to help. I spoke with Scott Rowsell from the forestry consulting company Pro-Tech, and he talked about the need for a program like the job opportunity program from 2009 to help displaced forestry workers. The steelworkers have called for reinstatement of the EI flexibility that was put in place during the pandemic, yet the government has done nothing.
The B.C. government is there in Houston, on the ground, working with the community and coming up with a plan. I implore the federal government to be there for the community during this difficult time.