HALIFAX, N.S. — Northern Pulp and Unifor, the national union that represents 240 of its Pictou County mill workers, voiced deep disappointment with Premier Stephen McNeil’s decision not to extend the Boat Harbour closure deadline.
“Today is a very tough day for those of us at Northern Pulp,” Brian Baarda, chief executive of Paper Excellence Canada, Northern Pulp’s parent company, said at a late-morning news conference Friday at a downtown Halifax hotel.
He said the company would start implementing plans Friday to close the Abercrombie Point mill.
“This decision ensures the closure of Northern Pulp, the devastation of Nova Scotia’s forest industry, the loss of 2,700 rural jobs and a significant impact to another 8,300 forestry jobs across Nova Scotia,” Baarda said.
The premier made the government’s position clear at an earlier news conference.
“There will be no extension,” MacNeil said.
“The company has had five years to get out of Boat Harbour and it is not even close, now it’s decision time.”
Baarda said the company will meet with government early in the new year to talk about what the plant closure will look like. During that conversation, the concept of idling the mill will likely come up, Baarda said, “but we don’t believe that it is possible without continuing to use Boat Harbour.”
‘Five days before Christmas’
“Our thoughts are with our employees, five days before Christmas, we’re going to focus on that,” Baarda said when asked if the company would pursue a lost-earnings claim against the government.
“At this time, for our workforce, we are offering on-site support and counselling to our employees and their families through our employee assistance program,” Baarda said. “Today, we will start the process of delivering layoff and contract-cancellation notices and start implementing plans to close Northern Pulp.”
Baarda cut questions short at the news conference because he was heading to the mill to meet with employees.
Baarda said Northern Pulp had put together an ex
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