Burnaby: John Horgan released the following statement on recent developments in the Canada-US softwood lumber dispute and the assessment of a duty on Canadian softwood exports:
“Forestry is vital to British Columbia’s economy, to the livelihood of tens of thousands of BC workers, and to our communities. BC is the biggest trading partner for softwood lumber with the United States.
“The United States has announced its intention to impose an average 20 per cent duty on Canadian softwood lumber exports. I am disappointed by the actions taken against our industry. The claims being made by the United States are entirely unjustified. BC’s forest sector is fair and market based and we will vigorously defend against these unfair tariffs.
“I am equally disappointed that Christy Clark failed to make getting a deal a priority, and failed to lead British Columbia to a fair resolution on softwood lumber. She has not treated this issue with the urgency it deserves. Because of delay and inaction, thousands of BC workers now risk losing their jobs and their livelihoods.
“While the Premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan have visited Washington DC to advocate for their province’s interests since the election of Donald Trump, Premier Christy Clark chose not to. Instead she said she was ‘optimistic,’ calling him a ‘builder.’
“We need a government that will advocate strongly for BC’s interests, defend BC forest workers, and reach a fair and lasting deal on softwood lumber.
“If I am elected Premier, I will travel to Washington DC within 30 days to make sure BC is properly represented in the softwood lumber dispute. I will sit down with US representatives, and I will ensure our government is taking every possible action to get a deal on softwood lumber to protect the jobs in our forest industry.
“Our future economic prosperity is at stake. We cannot afford any further inaction or delay. It is time for direct and immediate action to defend BC’s interests in the softwood lumber dispute, to ensure a fair deal for British Columbia.”