A softwood lumber agreement is needed to assure the forest industry’s future, Conservative MP Todd Doherty said as the one-year standstill of the agreement’s Oct. 12, 2016 expiry date approaches.
“We need our friends and families that are employed in our forest industry to know that they are going to have a job,” Doherty told the Tribune Tuesday before he planned to address the House of Commons on the issue.
“Mills in our region are looking at work curtailment and that impacts families and friends.”
In August, the Conservatives challenged the Liberals, during an emergency meeting, to bring the provinces and industry together to plan the best way forward, he added.
“We understand it is a complex issue. The Conservative government in 2006 put an end to the longest and most costly trade agreement with our number one trading party — the U.S. — and the softwood lumber issue is one that goes back generations.”
While Doherty said he doesn’t anticipate consensus, he stressed the importance of negotiating together as a whole on the agreement.
“The government needs to make sure the industry has confidence because when there is confidence, the jobs are there,” he added. “The federal government needs to approve more projects in B.C. and Alberta and get people to work.”
He criticized the federal Liberals for “turning aside Western Canada and pandering to outside interests, rather than taking care of Canadians at home.”
“We need a pipeline,” Doherty said. “This government has to start making decisions. It’s all nice and fine to be parading around and throwing money offshore, but we have people at home that are hurting.”