Liberals Fail on Softwood Lumber
April 26, 2017
On April 25th, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed countervailing duties as high as 24% on Canadian softwood lumber imports.
During the last dispute, over 15,000 jobs were lost and the Canadian forestry industry had to pay $5.4 billion in duties. It was our previous Conservative government that negotiated an agreement to end that dispute within three months of coming into office in 2006, as well as negotiated the 2012 extension of the deal through to October 2016.
In Alberta, the forest industry employs over 19,000 people, the majority of which are in our riding of Yellowhead, and in Canada, 370,000 jobs are directly or indirectly tied to the forestry sector. It is upsetting to me that, even with all those jobs at stake, negotiating a new softwood lumber agreement has never been a priority for this Liberal government.
Last Fall, I asked the government what action they were taking to ensure stability and predictability for Canadian forestry workers with the response that they will “defend our Canadian workers.” They have known since November that the United States was planning to launch trade action against Canada. Yet, instead of proactively defending hardworking Canadians, the Liberals failed to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement and are putting almost 400,000 jobs across the country at risk.
The Liberal government is failing to create jobs and grow the economy, and have now failed forestry workers and their families, jeopardizing their livelihoods.