Conservatives Launch Softwood Lumber Task Force
October 17, 2016
OTTAWA: The Conservative Opposition is creating a Softwood Lumber Taskforce to hold the Liberal government to account for solving the softwood lumber trade dispute with the United States.
The Liberal Government has failed to strike a new softwood lumber agreement with the United States to replace the one-year interim deal that officially expired last week, leaving thousands employed in the forestry sector across Canada anxious and uneasy.
“The Prime Minister has failed to make a commitment to the Canadian forestry industry and his failure will affect every region of the country,” said the Hon. Denis Lebel, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition. “From British Columbia to Quebec, and certainly including the Atlantic provinces, each province could face significant job losses. This is particularly worrying in my riding, where about 70% of the economy is dependent on the lumber industry. The imposition of new tariffs on lumber exports will have devastating effects on an already fragile economy and it is unfortunate that Justin Trudeau and his Liberal colleagues remain unmoved by this situation.
The Liberal government’s failure to get a new softwood lumber deal across the finish line is just another example of Justin Trudeau’s selfie international trade policy,” said the Hon. Gerry Ritz, Official Opposition Critic for International Trade. “After a year in government, the Liberals still refuse to take a decision on the TPP and the CETA with the European Union is under threat. Canadian exporters deserve stability and predictability from their government.”
“We are a group of MPs who are tired of the Liberal government mismanaging this very important file,” said Todd Doherty, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George. “We will make sure the Liberals don’t forget about the workers and communities affected by their trade war. We will talk to companies, workers and community leaders from coast to coast to coast, bring them together, and see if we can chart a path forward to solve this problem.”
“My constituents and the forest industry deserve to know what their future will be. As a member of the Conservative Softwood Lumber Taskforce, I will continue to reach out to forestry companies, workers and municipal leaders in my Yellowhead riding in areas where forestry is the primary economic driver and will reach out to other stakeholders from coast to coast to coast to solicit their recommendations for a solution”, stated MP Eglinski.
The last softwood lumber dispute cost the Canadian forestry sector $5.3 billion and was settled by the previous Conservative government negotiating an agreement within three months of coming into office in 2006. It was also the previous Conservative government that negotiated an extension of the deal in 2012 to ensure market stability through to October 2016.