The leader of the federal Conservative Party was in Port Alberni this week to talk about the forest industry.
Pierre Poilievre travelled to Port Alberni on Thursday, March 16 to meet with San Group owners Kamal and Suki Sanghera after requesting to tour their facilities. The Sangheras led him through the company’s remanufacturing plant to show him their value-added products, then brought him to the Coulson Sawmill to speak with employees there.
Poilievre was joined in Port Alberni by fellow Conservative MPs Marc Dalton (Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge) and Tracy Gray (Kelowna-Lake Country).
Poilievre said he was impressed by the San Group’s work in the forest industry, especially when it comes to creating value-added products.
“Not only are they harvesting the lumber, but they’re turning it into finished products,” said Poilievre. “The thing I love about this company is it’s from harvest to house, right through the supply chain.”
Canada needs more of these businesses, Poilievre added, so the country can keep its value-added jobs instead of shipping raw goods overseas.
“I want to bring that money home to Canada so our people put it in their pockets and their communities,” he said.
Kamal Sanghera says San Group has spent the past few years expanding and creating jobs in British Columbia, but the company has been hit hard by duty fees and tariffs.
“We are open to listen and hear any suggestions,” said Sanghera. “Anything that is better for the industry, anything that is better for Canada, San Group is open to support.”
Poilievre said that government red tape, high taxes and inflation are hurting the forest industry and have become “big obstacles” for Canadian companies. He also criticized the Trudeau government for failing to end the U.S. softwood lumber tariffs, and promised one of his priorities is to make a softwood deal with the U.S. government.
This is the second time in recent months that a federal leader has visited Port Alberni. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh also stopped in the community in January to talk with waterfront industry and Indigenous leaders.
Poilievre’s stop in Port Alberni took place between visits to Nanaimo and Victoria, where the Conservative leader has been talking about tough-on-crime policies and new approaches to dealing with the drug overdose crisis.