McNeil must defend NS in Canada – US Softwood Lumber negotiations

August 25, 2016 at 8:58 am

Baillie wants urgent action, as pressure mounts in negotiations

Nova Scotia-United States

HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says we need urgent action from Premier McNeil to protect Nova Scotia’s forestry jobs, as the pressure mounts on the Canada—US Softwood Lumber agreement negotiations.

The deadline for a new Canada-US Softwood Lumber agreement is fast approaching. Failure to reach a deal by Oct. 15 would allow US producers to petition the US government to impose new duties on softwood from Atlantic Canada. Tariffs could have devastating impact on jobs in the Nova Scotia forestry industry.

“Premier McNeil must step up and defend our forestry jobs,” says Baillie. “He’s been silent on the Canada-US Softwood Lumber agreement despite the major implications a bad deal could have on Nova Scotia’s economy.”

Nova Scotia’s lumber exports have been increasing each year, reaching a value of $85 million in 2014.

Baillie says this a very important trade matter and he wants to know why Premier McNeil is so quiet. The Premier is meeting with the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in Boston on Monday. The Canada – US Softwood Lumber negotiations should be on the agenda.

“Premier McNeil has been completely silent,” says Baillie. “He should be aggressively working to defend our protections in the Canada-US Softwood Lumber agreement.”

Last week, the Federal Liberals used their majority on the all-party, international trade committee to defeat a Conservative motion that called on International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland to create a roundtable consisting of herself, government officials from each province and industry stakeholders. The goal of the motion was to develop a national position on a new softwood lumber deal.

Baillie says Premier McNeil should be leading the charge with Nova Scotia’s interests at the forefront.