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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-12-10 19:47 [p.259]
Madam Speaker, hundreds of millions of dollars is what we are talking about. The issue has been at the forefront and a priority for this government from day one.
We are proud of our world-leading forestry sector, which supports over 218,000 good-paying, middle-class jobs for workers and communities across the country. The softwood lumber industry is a key component of our highly integrated forestry sector and the fundamental economic anchor for many communities across Canada.
We are keenly aware that the forest sector has recently been facing significant economic headwinds, which have had serious impacts on workers and communities that rely on this sector. The forest sector is facing a series of challenges including a reduction in the supply of harvestable timber and weaker demand in overseas markets, which is resulting in lower international lumber prices as well.
Another challenge is the duties unjustifiably and unfairly imposed by the United States on Canadian exports of softwood lumber. The Government of Canada is standing by our industry, our communities and our workers, contesting U.S. measures on softwood lumber through five legal challenges under chapter 19 of NAFTA and the WTO dispute settlement system.
Canada considers that the U.S. duties are inconsistent with both U.S. law and the international trade obligations of the United States. In past rounds of the softwood lumber dispute, Canada has always been successful in its challenges of the U.S. duties, as the U.S. claims have always been found to be without basis. We strongly believe that this will once again be the case.
In fact, our legal strategy has already met with success, and panels established both under chapter 19 of NAFTA and the WTO have already found fault with, respectively, the U.S. decision regarding alleged injury to U.S. industry caused by imports from Canada, and also the way the United States calculated its anti-dumping duties. We will continue to pursue these cases intently, along with all of the others.
In the meantime, this government understands the harmful impact that the U.S. duties have on Canadians who rely on this important segment of the forestry industry. We have always shown that we have Canadians' backs. This is why, in June 2017, this government announced a softwood lumber action plan, which includes $867 million in measures to support affected workers and communities.
The federal government will continue to work closely with provinces, territories and industry stakeholders to protect Canadian jobs and ensure a united pan-Canadian approach to the softwood lumber dispute.
This is an issue that has been ongoing for far too long. The Government of Canada has been taking action where it has seen a number of ministers, including the Prime Minister, get engaged in a very real and tangible way.
The member makes reference to the plight of one worker. There are many workers who are experiencing difficult times as a direct result of what we believe are unfair actions. That is the reason we are not only going to stand tall and stand for our workers, but are also going to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to an industry that is in need. Never have we wavered on the issue of supporting such a vital industry, because it is about people and communities.
If there is anything this government has demonstrated quite well over the last four years, it is that it genuinely cares and it is going to be there for the workers in Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it.
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