(Story by Brendan Pawliw)
Cariboo-Prince George Conservative MP Todd Doherty sounded off on the latest tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.
The US Department of Commerce announced yesterday it will be implementing anti-dumping fees of 6.87%.
Doherty says a lot of producers within the riding will be paying the price. “Tolko, West Fraser and our Canfor Corp – also if we look at the retroactivity it has also been placed on all others which means all of our small medium producers are going to be hit again 90 days back from the yesterday’s date.”
Duties vary from producer to producer.
Canfor will face 7.72%, Resolute 4.59%, Tolko 7.53%, and West Fraser 6.76%, while ‘all other companies’ will have to pay 6.87%.
While the situation seems grim, Doherty says it’s not as bad as it could be.
“I guess if there is a silver lining it’s not the 10 or 12% that we had anticipated but it is still deeply disappointing, this is going to mean jobs and layoffs sent within our riding and directly right across Canada. It is going to be felt in the small communities that are dependent on our forestry industry.”
It doesn’t help that Parliament Hill continues to lag behind on the issue. “You know it’s very frustrating, we’ve said this from the very beginning of this new softwood lumber agreement wasn’t on the radar or was a priority for the government when they came in and they were behind the eight-ball from the beginning and now BC is likely going to be hit the hardest and that means jobs and uncertainty in our riding,” says Doherty.
Doherty is hoping the recent move wakes up Ottawa.
“If there is any opportunity for these guys to take it seriously I’m hoping that they’re taking this serious now. The US has been very direct with Canada right from the very beginning, we know that the US Lumber Coalition isn’t going to back down and threats of litigation from our side we know that we have won a previous lawsuit but it comes at a cost as collateral damage on both sides of the border.”
With Steve Thomson now elected speaker in the BC Legislature, Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad takes over as BC’s Forest Minister.
However, Doherty believes either one would have hit their roadblocks.
“I am not quite sure the change in voice is going to make a difference from whether it is Rustad or Thomson handling it. I can tell you this though a change in government is going to make it a lot more difficult for us moving forward. I’m hoping that Mr. Rustad can get to work and I look forward to working with him on this file, it’s something that we cannot afford to step backward and our previous government with Christy Clark and her team including Thomson did a great job and actually took leadership on this file right from the very beginning more so than what we saw with respect to our federal government.”
The latest sanction is on top of April’s countervailing duties of 19.88%.