Little publicized knots in the softwood deal

  Niagara Falls, Ontario,
Thursday, August 31, 2006
by: Joe Hueglin

With the threat of an unwanted election in the near future if necessary legislation to implement the Softwood Lumber Agreement is not passed, those of us who watch the news are always on the lookout.

Running a small web-blog/list called the Daily Digest publications are searched for items of interest. When I started out, it was very labour intensive. While it still takes the greater part of the day, new tools like Google Alert have automated parts of the process. They’ve also provided some interesting insights.

Through these searches, I caught two motions passed by the Standing Committee on International trade on August 21st – these turned up in an NDP website posting but I could not find reference to them in any media articles. The government certainly isn’t going out of it’s way to publicize them.

The first motion, which requires the Standing Committee on International Trade to hold hearings on softwood in Vancouver, Thunder Bay

and Saguenay-Lac-St.Jean upon the return of Parliament in the fall session, preceding any vote on the issue in the House of Commons, was mentioned only in PoliticsWatch's "Big 10 issues for the fall".
Nothing current appeared for the second motion which calls on the federal government to immediately introduce loan guarantees to assist the Canadian softwood lumber industry. Election platforms included: "Guaranteed repayment of illegally imposed softwood lumber tariffs through Export Development Canada" as one of the new Conservative Party's planks.

Aside from the hearings and the question of loan guarantees, the actual unconditional support of the industry is unknown as yet. Some firms have indicated that their support is conditional. Unknown as well is whether all litigants have withdrawn their suits against the actions of the United States, actions which were illegal in the views of NAFTA panels and the United States Court of International Trade, if not the Bush Administration.

Intent upon implementation the Prime Minister may choose to ignore the motions of the House Committee. The knottier questions he must face are those relating to the degree of support and the ending of litigation in order to achieve his goal.


Joe Hueglin

NDP MP Peter Julian wins cross-country hearings on softwood
2006 ELECTION Issues:,+the+international+trade+committee+plans+to+hold+

Tolko Offers Conditional Support for Softwood Agreement; Expects Settlement to be Durable and to Move towards Fair Trade in Lumber
West Fraser Will Support Implementation of Softwood Lumber Agreement
The text of the Agreemet
The site where the Hansard of the committee meetings last week will be available when posted


Retrun to Ensign


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