Northern politicians are becoming increasingly concerned about the future of the lumber industry in the region.
Todd Doherty, MP for Cariboo-Prince George, and Bob Zimmer, MP for Prince George – Peace River – Northern Rockies, issued the following statement regarding the forestry industry in Northern British Columbia, Friday, Nov. 18.
“Our forestry sector is facing more uncertainty than ever before. Our mills and producers face the prospect of costly tariffs, duties, and the constant threat of litigation. This comes as a result of the Liberal Government’s failure to bring home a new Softwood Lumber Agreement. To make matters worse, the Prime Minister has blindly agreed to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the most important trade deal between Canada and the United States,” said Zimmer.
“We know that the President- elect is looking to include terms that favour the U.S. when it comes to the free trade of softwood lumber between our two countries. How can we count on the Liberals to protect forestry jobs when they couldn’t even negotiate a renewal of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, under favorable terms with the Obama administration?
“As joint members of the Softwood Lumber Taskforce, we call on Justin Trudeau to finally stand up for our forestry families. Get on the phone with the President- elect, and bring home a deal that won’t result in mill closures and widespread job losses for our hardworking constituents,” stated Doherty.
The previous Conservative Government has a proud history of standing up for forestry families. 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, under the Bush administration.
It was also the previous Conservative government that negotiated an extension of the deal in 2012 with U.S. President Obama to ensure market stability through to October 2016, in addition to investing $726 million to combat the mountain pine beetle epidemic.