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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

It’s one thing to support an emerging industry, but it’s quite another to prioritize taxpayer dollars for previously illegal enterprises, says Forestry Critic John Rustad

RCMP photo -- illegal grow-op in the Pemberton area

VANDERHOOF (December 9, 2019) ­– With the forestry crisis worsening, and John Horgan and the NDP still yet to introduce a comprehensive strategy to address the litany of layoffs and closures plaguing both the interior and coastal forestry sectors, attention is turning to a relief fund for illegal cannabis growers quietly announced by government last month.  

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative designates $675,000 dollars to help existing illegal cannabis growers in the Kootenays “overcome the barriers to operating in the legal economy” as they transition out of the black market.

To think that John Horgan and the NDP have created a relief program for illegal cannabis growers at a time when the forestry industry is imploding and forestry workers throughout the province are struggling to survive, shows you the misguided priorities of this government,” said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.

It’s one thing to support an emerging industry, but it’s quite another to prioritize taxpayer dollars for previously illegal enterprises, all while claiming there is no money left to support the forestry industry that grew this province.”
Forestry critic, & Nechako
Lakes MLA, John Rustad
The $675,000 grant is being funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and will subsidize cannabis growers exclusively from the Kootenays — a region that is also home to NDP MLAs Michelle Mungall and Katrine Conroy.

John Horgan and the NDP say there’s no more money available to help the forestry industry where workers are struggling to provide for their families over the holiday season, but they’ve somehow managed to suddenly come up with over half a million bucks for illegal cannabis growers,” added Rustad.

This isn’t just a case of a government picking winners and losers, it’s a government that is choosing to support people who have been profiting from illegal activities over hard-working British Columbian forestry workers.”

To date, there have been ten permanent or indefinite mill closures and over ten thousand job losses in BC’s forestry sector this year.


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