IN THE HOUSE ~ Question Period ~ The mounting costs of the Softwood Sellout
February 1st, 2011 - 8:55pm
40th Parliament, 3rd Session
Context : Supplementary Question
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in 2006 the Conservatives hung out the “mission accomplished” banner after signing the Softwood Lumber Agreement, yet Canada's softwood industry has been under assault ever since. The sell-out has cost Canadians over $125 million in penalties and thousands of jobs--that stopped the clapping. The latest attack has been hundreds of millions of dollars more against B.C. forestry communities.
When the sell-out was signed, Canada had more than one-third of the U.S. market. Now it is around one-quarter. It expires in two years. Is the government planning to renew the agreement and continue the sell-out of our softwood lumber communities, or will it stand up for Canadian softwood communities right across this country?
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Minister of International Trade, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased with the progress of the Softwood Lumber Agreement. In fact, we just recently had a decision where the U.S. contested some programs in Quebec and Ontario and the arbitration ruled that 97% of those American claims were rejected. When I was a lawyer, any client I had who won 97% of their case was pretty darn happy. That is because of the Softwood Lumber Agreement which is providing stability, jobs and certainty for our Canadian industry.