KAMLOOPS – Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo says she’s disappointed that Liberal members of the House of Commons International Trade Committee voted recently against a Conservative motion to have the Minister of International Trade convene a roundtable to determine a national agenda for the softwood lumber negotiations. Liberal MP Linda Lapointe even went as far as calling Thursday’s committee meeting a waste of time and money.
“Prime Minister Trudeau has met with President Obama three times since coming to office, but his government continues to miss their own deadlines for a new softwood lumber agreement, and I have no confidence that they will be able to deliver one in time,” said McLeod.
“With 370,000 jobs that rely on Canada’s forestry sector, if Canadian softwood lumber producers lose access to the U.S. market, there will be more massive job losses that we simply can’t afford,” stated McLeod. “I don’t need to remind everyone that during the last dispute, over 15,000 jobs were lost in British Columbia alone and the Canadian forestry industry had to pay $5.4 billion in duties.
“It’s very worrisome when we heard today that Canada’s chief negotiator on the deal stated Canadian and American negotiators aren’t close to reaching a new softwood lumber agreement, and that we need to be prepared for the possibility that Canada will be forced back into a trade remedy investigation,” concluded McLeod.