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Trudeau’s Trade Deal Gives BC the Finger

October 2nd, 2018 · 22 Comments

This was our chance.  After decades of American persecution and many millions of dollars of illegal tariffs against Canada’s softwood lumber industry, THIS was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chance to have softwood included in the “brand new” free trade agreement with the United States … and he let BC down.

At least half a dozen times, the US has imposed punitive tariffs on our softwood; at least half a dozen times our industry and governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fight those tariffs; at least half a dozen timers, Canada has WON; at least half a dozen times Canada has then failed to get FULLY reimbursed for our stolen monies; and, now, under Trudeau we’ve been at it again … fighting the latest attempt by American producers to keep Canada’s better quality and more efficiently harvested product out.

Softwood lumber was NOT included in the old NAFTA treaty, but when US President Donald Trump called for renegotiation of the free trade agreement, THAT was Canada’s chance to have softwood included and treated fairly.

In fact, on Monday, in speaking about the new accord, Trump himself called it “a brand new agreement” … not just a rework of the previous NAFTA.

So why did Trudeau and the Liberals let BC down?

Because the new USMCA deal is NOT a deal for Canada: it is a deal for Ontario.

Every time you see Trudeau or Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland talking about the benefits to “Canada” in the deal … change that word to “Ontario” and you’ll have a much better understanding of what it’s really all about.

Ontario’s auto industry; Ontario’s manufacturing industry; Ontario’s pharmaceutical industry; Ontario’s media and advertising conglomerate protectionism; and, not now but I’d bet sooner than later, Ontario’s steel and aluminum industry.

And BC?

Trudeau’s deal, by failing to include softwood lumber, will subject BC’s most important  industry to additional decades of illegal politically-motivated US tariff fights and costs. And hurt thousands of BC jobs that will continue to be attacked with regular impunity by America’s lumber lobby.

It’s just not good enough for the government to say retention of Section 19 to settle disputes will help resolve issues like softwood … not if the industry has to defend itself over and over and over again using the cumbersome, costly system.

Softwood should have been included in the new agreement in return for giving the US access to our dairy markets… and the impact that will have on Canadian agriculture.

BC dairy farmers … especially smaller  family run businesses will see market shares reduced as American dairy producers are given access to sales in Canada.  Several could lose their livelihoods … yet, with increased transportation costs, Canadian consumers can’t expect prices  to drop significantly.

BC’s wine industry will have to give up shelf space … and sales … to US wine from Washington and California, and likely as a corollary, more wines from other countries as well. This is not bad for consumers … but could be disastrous for some BC wineries.

BC retailers, like others across Canada, will faced both increased duty-free limits on competition products ordered from the US on-line and lower duty barriers on US goods brought back by shoppers. Also not bad for consumers but let’s keep it real: highly unfair to BC merchants, who will face increased competition, while still being forced to pay Canada’s higher wages and benefits … as well as facing higher municipal, provincial and federal corporate taxes … that fund our better health care, environmental fees and social programs.

The only thing worse for BC than the USMCA was the way the “national” media (networks AND journalists) covered the deal’s announcement … falling all over themselves celebrating the good news for Ontario’s industries and exports; also raising concerns expressed by Canada’s dairy farmers.

But I did not see even a single one  of them … in their reporting of the deal or even at the PM’s press conference …. raise the FAILURE of the pact to address the softwood lumber issue.

There was even a question about the agreement’s impact on indigenous peoples and gender issues … but NOT A QUERY about why softwood was NOT dealt with at this very unique, major opportunity. Some “national” media we now have in Ottawa!!!


And by the way, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (you know, the guy who announced he’ll run to become a BC MP in an upcoming by-election)  didn’t touch on the softwood issue or its mishandling by Trudeau/Freeland/Liberals either when he held his own scrum on the deal.

Somehow, though, I was not surprised.

In fact,  to his credit, only  Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer even seemed to be aware … or care about ….  the way BC’s softwood industry was abandoned in the new deal.

Scheer raised the softwood issue in Question Period … going after the Prime Minister on why it was left out. Bravo!

And most telling …  in replying to two questions on the topic … Trudeau sang the praises of the USMCA … but couldn’t bring himself to address the topic at all or even mention the words “softwood lumber” in either of his responses.

Trudeau didn’t hold up his middle finger … but it sure felt he was giving it to BC.

Harv Oberfeld

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Tags: British Columbia · International · Media · National

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gene The Bean // Oct 2, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I hear ya Harvey, but……. it takes two to tango.

    Softwood has been a disaster for 25 years and it appears it will remain so.

    Was Canada Ontario centric – probably. Did they do their best – absolutely. Trying to ‘negotiate’ with someone unwilling to negotiate is virtually impossible. I was hoping for better but I can live with it. Mexico screwed us over more than the Trumpastani’s. We shouldnt forget that.

    Today’s conservatives are more than willing to blow things up, and make everything worse if it is a (perceived) win for them. Their whole platform is based on making “things like they used to be.” Old white dinosaur 101.

    Due to the fact that almost all softwood in the Kingdom of Trumpistan is held by long established multi-generational very wealthy individuals and companies (who donate big time to the Repugnantans) – softwood was never going to be on the agenda. They have no ‘crown’ land like we do. As you know, it is a country of privateers. I’m sure it was brought up, but dismissed as easily as multiple sexual assault complaints.

    (Response: Don’t be so defeatist! Trump SO MUCH wanted access to our dairy market, and the Americans are well aware the softwood tariffs are adding about $9,000 to the cost of the average US house, THIS was the time Canada could have ad softwood dealt with …in return for dairy. Believe me, if softwood was as HUGE n Ontario industry as it is to BC, it would have been included. h.o.)

  • 2 JOhn // Oct 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Let me get this straight. BC produces softwood lumber, ships it to the States where the customers pay a tariff. Those customers seem to want our lumber, despite the tariff. Last time I checked, there were lots of trucks and train cars rolling south loaded with lumber. Forestry inductry seems to be doing well.

    (Response: It takes a lot more than seeing “lots of trucks” to reveal the true picture. BC lumber exports to the US for many years TOPPED 20 million cubic meters each year; in 2016 they were DOWN to 17,911,000 and in 2017 DOWN to 16,112,000 cubic meters. Why? Because although housing construction in the US is UP again, the tariff adds $9,000 more to the cost of an average home built with lumber from Canada … so builders are using the illegally protected lower quality American lumber. Canada/Trudeau/Freeland should have insisted our lumber industry be given free access to US markets in return for dairy conhcessions, not just cater to Ontario’s interests. h.o.)

  • 3 Horace B // Oct 2, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I was waiting and waiting for you to do another column on NAFTA. Wish you had brought this up earlier.

    (Response: They were pretty secretive about what WAS being discussed … and I noticed so was the softwood industry and even Horgan …so I thought something MIGHT be afoot and didn’t want to do anything that could alert US lumber producers/lobby. But in the end there was NOTHING for BC …except a finger! h.o)

  • 4 RIsaak // Oct 2, 2018 at 9:47 am

    The reality of 2 additional years of patent protection for drugs is anything but in the interest of the average Canadian. The dairy, milk, eggs and cheese concessions also have escalators in the US’s favor.

    The media seem loathe to accurately ferret out facts before high fiving over a deal, this is so disconcerting, longing for the old, “that’s the way it is” days

    (Response: The patent protection period doesn’t bother me as much as some of the other concessions: new pharmaceuticals can ve VERY costly and require very long-term research and expenditures to develop … not to mention all kinds of research/attempts that just don’t work out. As for the “national” media, they were so caught up in their usual “Canada is just Ontario and Quebec” thinking they not only MISSED the HUGE Softwood issue, but even when brought up in the Commons by Scheer, still didn’t pick up on it. Disgraceful reporting and analysis … and the CBC “national” broadcast was particularly awful in ignoring BC concerns/issues/impacts. It really needs a shakeup. h.o)

  • 5 Diverdarren // Oct 2, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Harvey, you’re right. The deal doesn’t do much for us in the West. Ottawa knows it’s power comes from Ontario and Quebec. The deck is Constitutionally stacked by giving an unbalanced proportion of seats to the East.

    Everytime liberals design a system of governance they try and break from Natural Law. They know that the fundamental principles of equality and one person one vote works against their power grab.

    And Trudeau and his Liberals are still trying to unbalance the new NAFTA agreement before it’s even signed. Trudeau negotiates access to Canadian dairy, and immediately announces compensation to dairy farmers.

    Free trade is simply not a principle of Statist-progressive agenda. Now, Trudeau is using our tax dollars to shore up their voting block of Ontario and Quebec dairy. Liberals are happy to spend the West’s tax dollars to buy votes in the East.

    If we want to fix the issues of Ottawa forgetting to consider the West and see us as part of Canada as opposed to a piggy bank, then the fundamental unbalance written into the Constitution needs to be fixed.

    Just don’t count on the Statist-progressives to fix a system that ensures their power. Equality and fairness are conservative values, and Trudeau’s Liberals know they need a stacked deck to win.

    (Response: I just watched the US morning cable show Morning Joe; they are consistently anti-Trump, pro Democrat … but several of their “experts” felt Trump/US won significantly over Trudeau/Canada. And they credited, reluctantly, Trump’s bullying style. The more we analyse the deal, the more apparent it is that Trudeau caved: we GAVE in on several issues and all we got back was PRESERVATION of some of our NAFTA benefits … no real GAINS. A deal on Softwood could have given Canada SOMETHING …in return for opening up our dairy/poultry sectors. But I have seen no signs that we even tried. h.o.)

  • 6 Art Smith // Oct 2, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Harvey, I am sure Trudeau would have given us the finger if both arms weren’t busy patting himself on the back.
    Trudeau showed very little interest in the trade negotiations (much like his pipeline fiasco) until the very last moment, when he discovered he could not stall any longer and his top negotiator was being disparaged by Trump. I don’t think either Freeland or Trudeau took any of this seriously, otherwise she wouldn’t have been on tv and at other venues with the prime motivation being to tweak Tromp’s nose. I would think a very unwise thing to do in any negotiations.
    From what I remember, these talks could have been put to bed months ago, but no, they wanted to play silly games and got slapped down and now we are stuck with an even worse agreement. I only hope Canada can survive another year these incompetent fools.

    (Response: As you know from my previous rants, I had not been overly impressed by Scheer as an electable alternative to Trudeau … but have to admit, when he rose in the Commons and wondered why NOTHING had been done to address softwood lumber …after the entire national press gallery and all the “experts” had totally ignored that issue for weeks… I was impressed! I hope Scheer and the Tories will continue to keep that issue alive: it shows a massive failing on the part of Trudeau/Freeland/Liberals … who clearly cared only about Ontario’s interests, not BC’s. h.o)

  • 7 SG // Oct 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    To me it seemed really bizarre that the negotiating team was so worried about tarrifs on Canadian auto and auto parts manufacturing killing the Ontario economy, when to me the obvious solution would’ve been for Canada to retaliate by putting huge tariffs on U.S manufactured motorcycles (Harley, Victory, Indian) snowmobiles and ATV’s (Polaris and Arctic Cat) outboard boat engines (Mercury) and boats and recreation vehicles (travel trailers and motor homes)….. Canada could have easily threatened to put huge tariffs on those products to protect our own manufactures of all those products, and the Americans would’ve backed down on their auto tariff threat. I’m pretty sure that Canada could’ve saved its auto industry by threatening to put huge tariffs on the very huge number of above mentioned recreational products that American companies sell to Canadians without sacrificing the dairy industry… Opening up more of our dairy market to the Americans should’ve been the negotiating tactic to get rid of softwood lumber tariffs.

    (Response: You are absolutely correct. In fact, I never thought Trump’s threat on cars was anything more than bluster: the US car producers had made it well known that such tariffs would be highly injurious to the AMERICAN car industry too, because Canada would have placed the exact same tariff on US made cars and also even raising imported parts prices to the point that US cars … not just recreational vehicles … would be increasingly uncompetitive … in both Canada AND the US. h.o)

  • 8 Gene The Bean // Oct 2, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Harvey – response to #1

    I agree that Canada would have fought much harder for softwood if it was an Ont/Que thing, that is just the inequities of life sometimes. Defeatist…? How about realist. I don’t like it either but your response to #5 – sacrificing the dairy and poultry sectors for it is no solution either. We haven’t lost on softwood – we just haven’t gained. Is that a win when you are 1/10 the size and dealing with a sociopathic bully dictator? Probably.

    Inequities between central Canada and the rest of us are as old as the country. I fight against inequity every day to better my community and those (ALL those) that live within it.

    For my last two years of high school I fought the VSB regarding the disparity in the conditions of playing fields between schools on the west side of Vanc and those on the east side. My school had three fields, one with some grass (until it rained), one with a few sprigs of grass and one “all weather” gravel field. Travelling to schools on the west side, they had manicured fields of golf course quality. I wrote letters, I attended meetings, I demanded action and was a massive pain to the school board. They finally had enough and ordered my principal to tell me to stfu. In our meeting he said I had to stop because sometimes – things just aren’t fair. He said it’s better to spend energy on things you can change as opposed to things you cant. That stuck with me.

    If we look at the big picture and how hard Canada fought and stood up, until the last hour, to the knuckle dragging Trumplodytes – I can live with it.

    We all agree (I think) that no deal is better than a bad deal. But an essential ‘carry-over’ on NAFTA isn’t a bad deal – it just isn’t a good deal. But it never was….. so …. onto other battles.

    (Response: LOL. Yes…I guess sometimes in trade negotiations between a country like Canada and the US, a defeatist and a realist can be the same thing. I just found it so frustrating that no one seemed to be trying ..let alone demanding … that BC’s critical softwood lumber industry be INCLUDED in a new free trade deal/agreement. Where were Horgan, the NDP provincially and federally and/or the BC/national media … or even the softwood industry officials people PAID to do their jobs? No wonder BC’s issues are so often ignored! I can assure you that, had I still been covering Parliament Hill, softwood would not have been! But I’m retired …so all I can do is rant. h.o)

  • 9 e.a.f. // Oct 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I’d agree with Gene the Bean.

    Ontario has the largest portion of the country’s population, so from and economic and political point of view, that is where the attention is going to be and actually needs to be.

    Soft wood lumber was never going to be on the table.

    As to Scheer, he will say whatever works for him or will get him a few seconds of air time.

    Its always easier to be the ones criticising this deal, we didn’t have to negotiate it. Freeland did a good deal. Don’t believe any one could have done better and we weren’t in the room or dealing with the other players.

    (Response: As to Scheer, as you may have noted, I have never been one of his cheerleaders, but let’s keep it real: if everything you and Gene said about Ontario being the motherload of votes and importance, it took a lot of principle to raise softwood in his valuable QP time on tv … and not just stick to the usual “issues” (dairy, steel, aluminum) as seen by the “national” (ie Ontario/Quebec) media agenda. h.o)

  • 10 Gilbert // Oct 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Just like his father, Justin Trudeau doesn’t care too much about BC. Our province doesn’t have enough seats for him to care. Well, I hope that in the next election, British Columbians will let the prime minister know how they feel and deny him seats.

    (Response: It’s an old Liberal attitude: Screw the West; we’ll take the rest. But maybe, if we had a louder, more active BC government demanding a permanent resolution under the USMCA on softwood and a media that would wake up to the importance of the story something could have happened …instead of forcing the thousands of forest workers and investors to wait YEARS for another chance. h.o)

  • 11 BMCQ // Oct 2, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Well Harvey I agree with you 100% that Softwood should have been a Key part and cornerstone of USMCA, it was Canadian Softwood that was unfairly attacked more than any Canadian Product shipped into the U.S. simply because it was advantagious for U.S. Senators to politicize the issue to satisfy Voters and Money Lobbies.

    Time and time again the Softwood Issue was won by Canada in the Courts yet the practice continued.
    Softwood was always a big news story and it should have been from and Centre not pushed back into the shadows.

    Having said that there is still much to be negotiated and finalized with USMCA, including Steel, Aluminum, and other Canadian Exports, it is now up to Scheer, Singh, Horgan, Wilkinson, the Disengaged, Impotent, Media, Softwood Industry Leaders, and Voters from Softwood Provinces to put pressure on PM Justin and his Minions to include Softwood in the final agreement, it is not to late.

    Was PM Justin, his Chief Negotiator, and Staff derelict, uncaring, Playing to their Base? We do not really know but as someone who has very little respect for PM Justin I will not be too critical as yet because other than stalling and making some errors in negotiating tactics the Trade Team actually appear to have made a fair deal over all for Canada.

    Contrary to belief of 90 plus percent of those that post on this Blog naively believe the original NAFTA, China, S. Korea, and EU Trade Deals were most unfavorable to the U.S. and it’s Workers. The U.S. Negotiators and various Administrations were Dupes, no different than Obama and Kerry during the Iran Nuke Deal.

    My Company is an Exporter to the U.S., and many other World Nations and I have real time experience with NAFTA and exporting Unionized B.C. Manufactured Product to those many Nations.

    As I have stated many times on this Blog the real target on Trade for the U.S. Is China who Steals Intellectual Property, Counterfeits Products, , employs Slave Labour, uses inferior grades in everything including Food, and manipulates it’s Currency amongst many others. Do not buy packaged food products from China, you could be eating “Soylent Green”.

    Most were quick to vilify the POTUS for calling out the EU for unfair trade practices but in fact the EU does have unfair Duties on U.S. Goods entering the EU and EU President Junker recently admitted that and negotiations have begun to level the playing field because the EU has had an unfair advantage. Same with South Korea, they have a new Yrade Deal with the U.S., with Japan soon to follow.

    Keep in mind that a $ 55 K Canadian manufactured Jeep Turns into a $ 90 K Jeep in China, why? Unfair Trade Import Duties by China.

    Harvey disagrees with me but the so called Canadian Dairy Farmers are mostly today Large Corps and Canadian Consumers we’re helped very little by PM Justin salvaging Supply Management. Hard working Canadian Tax Payers of all income levels would have been better served if Dairy Protection for Large Corps would have been reduced more.

    On this past May 31 Harvey posted a Blog regarding this NAFTA discussion and it is a good read.

    Of course PM Justin pandered to Ont and Que, would we expect any less?

    Good for Scheer, i am pleased he has come out of the “Witness Protection Program”! He has much work to do as Sing will not help and Bernier will just split the ‘vote in Que.

    Speaking of Quebec, I find it rather interesting and telling that Quebec has a New Majority CAG Conservative Government, I am surprised that Mr. Bean did not point that out. We are quickly reaching the end of the NDP in Canada, soon Alberta will go Conservative, there will be barely a rump left after Singh destroys the Party and Horgan is only NDP Premier in Canada and only because of a Huffing and Puffing Boy That Cried Wolf Andrew Weaver. Yikes! Tick Tock!

    I am currently in the EU (Edipsos) doing Trade Deals with Corps in many Nations and POTUS Trump has their attention.

    Trump is rude, boorish, aggressive, abhorant at times and even Orange but he is and will serve the U.S. and western Free Nations well. The U.S. did in fact have Bad Trade Deals with other Nations and they will all be renegotiated and they will have better more fair Balance.

    Canada has really ended up with a Good Trade Deal with the U.S. and Mexico. Keep in mind that it was the U.S. that demanded 75% of Auto Parts be manufactured in North America, NOT China! It is also a fact that Workers from Mexico be guaranteed a minimum $ 15.0o per hour wage deal. That will assist Mexico, Mexican Workers, and the Mexican Families. Did Obama accomplish that? No but he sure had some great State Dinners with Jay Z, Clooney, Oprah, and the Tech Crowd.

    Considering it all I must give PM Justin a “B” grade on his Trade Deal Result, not sure if he was a Gifted, Intelligent, or Shrewed Negotiator but “Sometimes Your Toast Lands Butter Side Up”!

    I believe this Trade Deal will be given great Fan Fair by a Fawning Media and it will most unfortunately help PM Justin with his 2019 Election Campaign.

    To suggest Scheer is being dishonest in his efforts to highlight SoftwoodbLumber in Question Period is Grossly Unfair and Dishonest!

    Harvey is correct, Scheer and Wilkinson are the ONLY Politicians in Canada including Mensa Member and B.C. Premier John Horgan and his Wing Man Weaver to even mention Softwood!

    (Response: I don’t think many realize how much the media influence how governments act: if the “national” media was truly national and had raised softwood before, during the talks, the issue would have carried some weight. But softwood is NOT an Ontario/Quebec MAJOR issue …so the “national” media and their Ontario/Quebec-centric producers and editors ignored it. And sadly, even the BC press has been a disgrace: NO ONE, from what I hear/see mentioning it when our national “leaders” are even out this way …including today when Trudeau was in BC for the Kitimat LNG announcement. There he was … beside Horgan ..and if anyone even raised SOFTWOOD, I did not see it reported far. If they ignored this critical BC issue, what lousy journalism …and really lousy assignment editor direction. Disgraceful! So let ME (I’m retired!) tell folks what the BC Lumber Council said today:

    “The duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian softwood lumber are punitive and unfair, and are driven by the U.S. lumber lobby solely for the purpose of constraining imports of high-quality Canadian lumber to drive up prices for their own benefit. Ultimately these duties punish consumers and workers on both sides of the border,” said Yurkovich. “Finding a durable resolution to the softwood lumber dispute must remain a key priority.”

    Amen! But it will NEVER happen unless the Canadian government …and the BC and “national” media make it happen. h.o)

  • 12 13 // Oct 2, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    I suppose in the darkest places on our planet conservatives meet to plot their next murderous plans to over throw everything.
    Might seem like a bit of an exaggeration but in North America and much of Europe conservative governments keep getting elected. Gosh even in Quebec.
    Hopefully the people of Canada will realize as have so many Americans that the Liberal agendas on both sides of the 49th are geared towards getting reelected at any cost. Tax payers and common sense be damned. Trudeau was out matched in the NAFTA negotiations to the point of becoming the end of an acronym. USM C A.
    Should have used a small USMcA.
    Tick Tock

  • 13 ThirstyDeer // Oct 2, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Actually Harv, what terrifies me a lot right now about the new deal is America’s access to our personal information. Canada rescinded the requirement for American technology companies like Google to hold our personal information in data centers located in Canada. By keeping such information in the US our information is now subject to American laws regarding personal info. Quite simply, I don’t trust them.

    (Response: I already assumed that under new border agreements signed with the US under Harper, US authorities already had access to every detail of our lives dating back to the time we were each born. Of course, adding US commercial companies into the mix exposes us to more intrusive possibilities and hacking. Now if either entity could do something about my spam….! h.o.)

  • 14 BMCQ // Oct 2, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    To clarify, I give the Canad PM and Negotiators a “B” Grade on USMCA because of the outcome which has resulted in an overall better Deal for the U.S. than what it had with Canada and Mexico, Canada was not really damaged, Mexican Autoworkers benefitted with better Wage Packets and much more manufactured Auto Parts will be made in North America USMCA Countries cutting out China which is a huge benefit To all three countries but will really give important benefits and improved standard of living to thousands of Mexican Families. Canadian And American Auto Workers already have that but Employment should go increase for well paid Auto Sector Workers.

    Again, I am not sure if we were good Negotiators or just got lucky but over all it is a Fair Deal and Canada survived much much better than I thought. That is a win for PM JT no matter how we spin it. Along with LNG and the commitment to KM PM Justin will benefit.

    I have no idea why but World Wide Media of all types and in particular Media Leaders, Assignment Editors, Program Directors, and Editorial Boards are Liberal and they do in fact which News is covered and what the “Great Unwashed” are fed each day. It is only a low percentage of Citizens that actually dig deep and learn the truth. Why are Media Left Leaning Liberals? Who knows but they are Dishonest at best and they are currently doing great harm to many Great Democracies World Wide. The Tail Wagging the Dog. Why what drives that ideology?

    I believe it starts with indoctrination in Primary School and continues right up through High School and University, it is a travesty.

    Left of Centre Media Bias is much stronger today than when Harvey was involved. Yes a high percentage of Media were Liberal but they did not let that influence their News Coverage and that has changed.

    Let’s hope that Media bring Softwood to the Forefront with the upcoming Steel and Aluminum Section of the USMCA continues over the next few months.

    Even U.S. Media can help by pointing out that when U.S. Lobby Groups and Senators unfairly target Canadian Softwood it can mean an increased cost of approximately $ 9 K USD for each House built. Perhaps Canada Softwood Industry and the Canadian Government should take out Ads on all types of US. Media to get the message out there.

    It is of utmost importance that Softwood be included in the Final Round of USMCA and Media need to remind American Consumers, Canadian Voters, B.C. Premier Horgan, PM Justin and his Minions, we cannot afford to continually get Bogged Down in a continual Softwood Dispute when it is not necessary.

    Contact your Media Outlets, MLA’s, MP’s, and the PM Office, there is no time to waste.

  • 15 D. M. Johnston // Oct 3, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Trudeau and his Liberals care about BC, please don’t make me laugh!

    BC is nothing more than a colonial appendage in the Liberals mind, easily bribed and brought to heel when needed.

    (Response: The feds are kicking in $275 million for the LNG project …a corporate give away, to be sure, but at least one being spent in BC instead of the usual back East. h.o.)

  • 16 DonGar // Oct 3, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Missing press. Nothing from Vancouver Sun, Province, Global, City etc. But then not surprising as all the content is now controlled out of Toronto.

    And more troubling nothing out of our provincial government.

    Thanks for raising this and maybe someone in the press will read your blog and wake up.

    (Response: It really boggles the mind. Can anyone ever imagine that the media, say in Ontario or Quebec, would stay silent, not even raise the BIGGEST trade issue with the US facing their provinces, before, during and especially after the deal if it was left out!!! And even worse, from everything I’ve seen, not even ask the PM about why their issue was NOT addressed when he was right there …in their province … the day after the deal was announced. Incredible! No wonder BC gets such short shrift from Ottawa. h.o.)

  • 17 e.a.f. // Oct 3, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    It would appear not everyone is happy with the job Freeland did. Lots of how it ought have been this or that, but really can any of you say you could have done better. Do you even have the skills to do it?

    The Cons wouldn’t have done any better. Earlier on in the negotiations we had Scheer advocating capitulation. Mulroney, who has been supportive of the negotiating team even was less than amused by Scheer’s attitudes.

    As to the softwood lumber, how do any of you think that is going to turn around. Those American politicians who want to keep B.C. tied up in court, are getting mega bucks from their corporate sponsors. that is never going to change. Some of those Senators need up to $5oM to get re elected and they are expected to deliver.

    Lets also face the fact that the lumber industry isn’t what it once was in this province. While el gordo was in office, most of the mills closed. What we see now of Vancouver Island is simply logging with the majority of logs going off shore to be milled. Lets talk again when the mills open up again. (like in never)

    We need to remember we have a population of 36M and the U.S.A. 350M. Big difference. As to the name of the new deal, who cares. O.K. dtrumpster does, so let him have his tiny ego boost there.

    I’m not happy about my information going south, but really wasn’t it a Socred or B.C. Lieberal government which signed a deal with an American corp. instead of a Canadian regarding some of our medical information. yes, it had to be “held” but do you really think that ever happened. For that matter anything on computer can be accessed from any where by any teenage hacker. So why fight for something we never had, really.

    The dairy industry in Canada is still small family farms. yes, the producers, who actually get the stuff ready for market are big corporations. I’m still in favour of the government protecting our supply management system. In some parts of Canada those family farms contribute a great deal to the local economy, especially in small town in the Maritimes.

    In a country as large as this one, geographically, it is impossible to keep everyone happy. Not every one is going to come out a “winner”, but Freeland got the best deal she could on behalf of our country.

    (Response: The US and Donald Trump so BADLY wanted concessions from Canada on dairy and poultry, THIS was a perfect opportunity to do a tit for tat opening on softwood lumber. Instead we just gave the opening on dairy away. Shameful. h.o.)

  • 18 e.a.f. // Oct 4, 2018 at 1:08 am

    Harvey I don’t believe that the tit for tat would have worked with soft wood lumber. There is simply too much money being funnelled into American politicians fundings for them to allow that to happen. When you look at the /American politicians who want the softwood lumber out of the U.S.A., look at how much they funnel into their politician’s funding, as in getting them re elected. Those American politicians have a life of luxury, once elected. Not one of them want to give that up. They live much better than any Canadian politician, trust me. Even lowly state A.G.s can expect lovely “vacations” at expensive resorts as a regular “benefit”. they hold them for Democrats and another for republicans. When you get to the Senator class, its a whole different ball game and those senators are going to do whatever their financial enables want. Defund health care in the middle of an opiod crisis, no problem. Want soft wood kept out of the U.S.A., no problem.

  • 19 RIsaak // Oct 4, 2018 at 9:54 am

    The fact that when natural disasters hit (hurricanes etc.) the US suppliers cannot cut, mill & ship enough for the sudden demand is always the Achilles heel of the US lumber producers and their anti-Canadian wishes. Any move to capitalize on that sudden demand by adding export taxes would be a huge aid in getting some tariff supporters held in check, though there is zero stomach in our current leaders to do such a Canadian focused concept.

    (Response: The big debate, esp from the US point of view, surrounds our stumpage system, which they believe conceals subsidies. What they ignore is their own subsidies to the industry. For the sake of consumers alone, and in view that Canada has won several independent panel challenges already, Canada should have demanded …okay, let’s say at least pushed for lumber to be included in the USMCA. Bet they would have if softwood was so important to Ontario or Quebec. h.o.)

  • 20 BMCQ // Oct 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

    RIsaak 19 – Harvey – Response – 19

    Again, i do not like anything about PM Justin but I feel for one reason or another or simply Good Luck, Canada secured a very Good Deal but yes Soft Wood should have been included.

    Contrary to many I must give Freeland, Canadian Trade Negotiators, Mexican Leadership and Trade Negotiators, and U.S. Leadership and Trade Negotiators High Marks for a Fair and Balanced Result That Benefits Citizens, Workers, and Business of ALL Three Nations.

    Aluminum, Steel, and some others are yet to be negotiated. Let’s hope and push for Canadian Trade Leaders step up and include Soft Wood in that upcoming Agreement.

    As Harvey and others have pointed out there is more than enough evidence to show that both Canada, the U.S. their Workers, Evonomies, and Consumers would be better off with Soft Wood being included in USMCA.

  • 21 Richard Skelly // Oct 6, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Death, taxes and softwood lumber woes have been the lot of British Columbians since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and then NAFTA. I’m pretty sure countervailing duties et al on our lumber exports preceded those trade deals.

    I could be mistaken, but wasn’t it Canadian intransigence to opening up our cultural industries that factored into softwood being left out of NAFTA? The appropriately named (and ultimately shamed) Senator Bob Packwood was a constant thorn in the hides of B.C. Lumber executives.

    Over time Big Timber in B.C. has bought out struggling mills and related operations in the U.S. I’m curious if those Canadian-owned mills get a better deal on prime B.C. lumber than their American-run rivals.

    One thing is for sure: Share prices of Canfor, Interfor and West Fraser have held up remarkably well during the current dispute. Media reports indicate most U.S. contractors prefer our better-quality wood. More often than not, the additional $9,000-per-house cost is absorbed by American home buyers.

    (Response: I doubt protecting our cultural industries kept softwood out of the talks. After all, the Americans were able to make changes in a whole new direction on dairy and poultry … so I’m sure softwood could have been included … IF Trudeau Liberals fought for it. Too bad it’s more a BC industry than an Ontario one. h.o.)

  • 22 Richard Skelly // Oct 7, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Just to clarify, Harvey, I was referring to the exclusion of softwood lumber in the original Mulroney-era NAFTA negotiations. My recollection is that by firmly protecting our cultural industries, the Canadian trade team had no leverage to get a permanent softwood fix.

    This time around, you are correct in surmising that softwood rated no special push by Chrystia Freeland for inclusion. The Eastern media focussed, as you noted, solely on matters most concerning Ontario and Quebec.