IN THE NEWS ~ Minister attacked over lumber dispute; Days says provinces to get $68M in fines levied against Canada

PUBLICATION: The Telegram (St. John's)
SECTION: Business PUBLICATION: The Telegram (St. John's)
SOURCE: The Canadian Press
DUPLICATES: The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton), New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal

Minister attacked over lumber dispute; Days says provinces to get $68M in fines levied against Canada

Trade Minister Stockwell Day says back taxes demanded by an international tribunal that ruled against Canada in the latest softwood lumber dispute will go to the four provinces affected, not the United States.

Under attack in the House because of the handling of the dispute, one of the few Canada has lost, Day said Tuesday that Canada would abide by the tribunal's ruling.

On Monday, the international tribunal rejected Canada's offer to pay US$46.7 million in compensation for shipping too much wood south of the border.

Instead, the ruling was that Canada will have to pay the full amount demanded by Washington, US$68 million, as originally ordered last February by the London Court of International Arbitration.

Despite the loss, Day said he believes that the softwood lumber agreement his government signed with Washington soon after taking office three years ago was worthwhile.

"It returned $5 billion to the Canadian industry which would have been left in the United States," he said.

"We fought hard on this particular ruling about back taxes. Now the final ruling has come out. The back taxes are owing. The money will be going to the provinces. If it was up to the Liberals, that money would still be staying in the United States."

The decision means Canada will have to impose export charges on softwood lumber destined for the U.S. until the full amount of the fine has been collected.

Day says the taxes will go to the provinces affected, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan

The ruling, however, is another blow to the already fragile softwood lumber industry that has seen thousands of jobs lost as demand and prices for product plummeted in response to the U.S. housing crisis. Liberal critic Scott Brison and NDP critic Peter Julian both accused the Conservatives of incompetence in the handling of the dispute.

"Conservatives promised us peace in their time but they have utterly mismanaged the softwood lumber file," said Brison. "Instead of heading off a dispute that was months in the making, they did nothing."

Julian said the agreement, which he called a "sell-out," has contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, and the closure of dozens of mills in lumber communities across the country. He noted that Canada faces another similar challenge that could again result in more penalties.

PAGE: D2
SOURCE: The Canadian Press
DATELINE: Ottawa
DUPLICATES: The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton), New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal

Minister attacked over lumber dispute; Days says provinces to get $68M in fines levied against Canada

Trade Minister Stockwell Day says back taxes demanded by an international tribunal that ruled against Canada in the latest softwood lumber dispute will go to the four provinces affected, not the United States.

Under attack in the House because of the handling of the dispute, one of the few Canada has lost, Day said Tuesday that Canada would abide by the tribunal's ruling.

On Monday, the international tribunal rejected Canada's offer to pay US$46.7 million in compensation for shipping too much wood south of the border.

Instead, the ruling was that Canada will have to pay the full amount demanded by Washington, US$68 million, as originally ordered last February by the London Court of International Arbitration.

Despite the loss, Day said he believes that the softwood lumber agreement his government signed with Washington soon after taking office three years ago was worthwhile.

"It returned $5 billion to the Canadian industry which would have been left in the United States," he said.

"We fought hard on this particular ruling about back taxes. Now the final ruling has come out. The back taxes are owing. The money will be going to the provinces. If it was up to the Liberals, that money would still be staying in the United States."

The decision means Canada will have to impose export charges on softwood lumber destined for the U.S. until the full amount of the fine has been collected.

Day says the taxes will go to the provinces affected, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan

The ruling, however, is another blow to the already fragile softwood lumber industry that has seen thousands of jobs lost as demand and prices for product plummeted in response to the U.S. housing crisis. Liberal critic Scott Brison and NDP critic Peter Julian both accused the Conservatives of incompetence in the handling of the dispute.

"Conservatives promised us peace in their time but they have utterly mismanaged the softwood lumber file," said Brison. "Instead of heading off a dispute that was months in the making, they did nothing."

Julian said the agreement, which he called a "sell-out," has contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, and the closure of dozens of mills in lumber communities across the country. He noted that Canada faces another similar challenge that could again result in more penalties.