The softwood lumber dispute has prompted Alberta Forest Products Association to ask people to stand up for the forestry sector. The tariffs put on Alberta producer’s lumber when it gets to the U.S. border can now range anywhere from 19 to 24 per cent.
AFPA CEO and President Paul Whittaker says it is an important issue for Alberta because the forestry industry is a major employer in 70 communities.
“It doesn’t hurt to have, mayors and reeves, but also members of the public to come out and say this matters to me. This is jobs and fairness. This is an important industry.”
Whittaker says it could be a year before negotiations get started.
“This is the fifth round of disputes. We have been having them for over 40 years. They seem to pop up every 10 years or so. It is kind of like the movie Ground Hog Day. We kind of do the whole day over again. Americans allege that the Canadian industry is subsidized.”
To help the industry through the dispute, On June 1st, 2017, Ottawa announced $867 million in financial assistance for the softwood lumber industry. These will be in the form of loan and loan guarantees.