Employees of the mines in and around Estevan and other stakeholders met with a committee yesterday to figure of ways to best transition workers when coal is eventually phased out. 

Souris Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen was also in attendance to speak on behalf of his constituents. 

"I found out about this late Friday," shared Souris Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen, "and if it wasn't for the Chamber of Commerce sending me a notice, I wouldn't have known about anything about this. So I appreciate and thank the Chamber for that."

"I found out about it, made some massive changes in flights and getting permission so I'm here because I'm supposed to be in Ottawa right now. But it's important for my caucus to be aware of what's going on with this process."

"It's obviously important to me not only Estevan being my hometown, this is my community, these are my constituents. These people give day in and day out constantly to the employment of this community."

"And it's not just the workers, it's not just the workers at the mine, or at SaskPower, it's also the trickle-down effect to the supply industry, the supply companies. The people who supply the nuts and bolts to make that equipment work. The people who supply the food. People that provide gasoline. The car companies in town that provide vehicles for these companies. They're all going to be impacted by this huge thing."

"We look at the real estate here, there are people with homes that they've invested in. That's their retirement. And at this time when we see the downturn in the oil, when we see the trouble the farmers are in, it's going to be a huge impact."

"In fairness to the committee, they are here and they are not the government. They are here to do a job to hear and we're hearing throughout the day, expression of frustration and despair."

Kitchen hopes to return to Ottawa and put pressure on the federal government to consider the people who are most affected by the transition away from coal. 

"I will talk to my caucus, my colleagues. It's not here, it's not just me. I recommended to the committee that they should be notifying every MP that they go into so they can be there regardless of where it is in Canada so they can be talking."

"A couple of my colleagues in Alberta were talking about having our own coal task force to travel across the country this summer to hear from people."

"To be able to be here and talk about this is very important for me obviously."

"Hopefully they're going to hear some of this, they're going to take some of these recommendations and hopefully recognize there is hypocrisy here. You're going to shut down coal here in Canada yet we're going to ship coal outside of Canada for other countries to burn it. The emissions are still there."

READ MORE: Local Voices Heard at Meetings to Transition Coal Workers


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