LETTER: NDP proposed action on U.S. softwood a serious mistake

Jim Abbott asks the NDP to reconsider its softwood lumber stance.

One reader wants the NDP to reconsider its softwood lumber stance.

B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. It provides about 145,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the B.C. Lumber Trade Council.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition is alleging Canadian lumber is being sold below market prices in the United States. It has been reported that in the latest round of the long-running softwood lumber dispute, the U.S. coalition asked the government to protect American mills by imposing new duties on Canadian lumber.

This never-ending quarrel is based on an unfounded, fabricated claim that B.C. and Canadian governments subsidize Canadian companies.

For decades the U.S. has falsely challenged and for decades Canada has successfully rebuffed the claim in international courts.

The foundation for success in protecting Canadians is that there are no subsidies.

It is therefore surprising that Kootenay Columbia NDP MP Wayne Stetski and the 13 other New Democrat B.C. MPs are now calling for federal loan guarantees for softwood lumber producers.

“Will the federal government subsidize B.C. mills in the form of low cost loans or no cost loans so they can keep operating until they find new markets if they’re no longer competitive going into the states?” Stetski asked.

Doesn’t he realize his ill-founded request supplies ammunition to our U.S. adversaries?

Stetski’s advice is that the government should subsidize Canadian operations will be used against Canadian interests, even if the NDP is ignorant of the facts. I suggest the Kootenay Columbia MP might want to seek information about this issue before commenting again.

There are 145,000 jobs at stake.

Jim Abbott

Wasa, B.C.

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