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Despite an offer from the union to extend its contract, the director of the Mont-Orford ski resort, near Magog Québec, cancelled its season this week.

The 100 members of CUPE 1232 have been locked out since Oct. 31. Another 300 employees have also been affected because of the facility’s closure.

Overshadowing the negotiations is the provincial government’s move to privatize the Mont-Orford park’s ski and golf facilities, under Bill 23.

The government had leased the land to André L’Espérance, who owns the ski resort’s equipment. But as part of its tendering process, the government is cancelling its arrangement with L’Espérance.

The lockout seems as much about L’Espérance’s desire to squeeze money out of the province as it is about squeezing the workers. The province will need the lockout problem to disappear if it is to proceed with its plans.

Meanwhile, the livelihoods of the resort’s 400 employees as well as the health of the region’s economy are hanging in the balance.