A couple of weeks after the shocking announcement that as many as 135 workers at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper could be axed, the provincial cabinet finally arrived in Corner Brook en masse.
Trouble is, they’re here mostly to show the party flag, take part in winter carnival events and likely have cabbage rolls more on their minds than the future of the mill.
A week earlier, Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy was in town to address the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade and served up a few vague platitudes about the future of the mill that remains an important pillar in the economy of the western region.
Kennedy said the provincial government stands willing to assist once the mill unions and the mill owners, Kruger Inc., have settled on a plan for the future.
Sadly, there appears to be only one plan remaining for the mill ... to gut the workforce and hope it survives.
This province has a major stake in the future of the newsprint mill and politicians waiting to pick through what survives isn’t exactly being proactive.
Even if the provincial Tories aren’t willing to step in with financial help they could at least publicly try to twist a few arms at Kruger to keep their slashing of the workforce to a minimum.
Surely there are programs — federal or provincial — that would allow older workers to leave early and bridge their incomes until they can collect their pensions.
That would keep younger workers employed and contributing to the local economy instead of heading west, north or east.
On a different tack, why can’t government cajole — or force — oil companies to export some benefits from the upcoming billion-dollar offshore projects to this part of the island?
Corner Brook and Stephenville have good harbours where industries could take root and skilled workers as good as any in the country.
Waiting is a cheap strategy ... but an unimaginative one.