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LETTER: Closing AV Terrace Bay mill an act of profiteering?

It's time that our governments get involved and put our workers back into the workforce without displacing them from their families or their homes.

To the editor,

The 'cat and mouse' game that the provincial government and AV Terrace Bay are playing becomes inauspicious to say the very least. Motive(s) for AV Terrace Bay mill closure run wild with thoughts about foreign control over our Canadian economy.

Have our governments made us so vulnerable to foreign investors that one business entity can make such a stir? I guess so.

Closing the mill and putting so many people out of work can only be viewed as an act of profiteering at the expense of local residents - and where is our provincial government on this?

Looking at the multi-facet of profiteering, does this foreign investor plan to control labour issues by starving laid-off workers so that if they are recalled back to work they would be subjected to reduced wages and benefits? This is also known as 'union busting'. Organized labour will now become extinct in Terrace Bay.

Or, does AV Terrace Bay see great profits with real estate in Terrace Bay or Schreiber when workers can no longer pay for their mortgages or property taxes and foreclosure is the predicted outcome? Using an at-arms-length foreign company that specializes in real estate would buy up these properties at about 10 cents on the dollar, sell or rent these dwellings and send their profits back to their homelands.

Or, is there a larger economic issue by cornering the market to have lumber inventories reduced so low that a premium price can be asked for these products in both Canada and abroad? The hurricane season will soon be here and meteorologists are predicting many hurricanes with magnitudes of high strength this year.

Or, is there something closer to home - a grudge that AV Terrace Bay has with the municipality with respect to having to pay regulated corporate taxes?

These are just a few questions that enter my mind when victims are held hostage to foreign investors and acts of profiteering happen where no level of government wants to address this issue.

If this was an essential service and there was the possibility to restrict services to people and businesses of the country, then the federal government would step in and enforce the work-to-rule mandate for employees. When the shoe is on the other foot, where is the government?

To help alleviate foreign control of our country as it is seen in Terrace Bay, both the federal and provincial governments need to impose an 'idle or care and maintenance' tax of substantial magnitude on to business owners. This will encourage the investor to continue with operations or forfeit possession of their property. After all, it would only be fair for this tax since homeowners in Terrace Bay and Schreiber are about to lose their homes for either default in taxes or mortgage payments.

Foreign investment is good for businesses, people and Canada's economy as a whole. Foreign investment put on hold becomes the architect of decay for prosperity. Also, trust issues will be heightened.

Since this is the second economic strife that Terrace Bay and Schreiber have witnessed in about 10 years, it would be safe to say that expenditures on big-ticket items (eg. homes, passenger vehicles, recreational vehicles, etc.) would be a risky venture. The money circle would surely be interrupted and confidence lost.

It's time that our governments get involved and put our workers back into the workforce without displacing them from their families or their homes.

Ed Dunnill


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