B.C. Premier sees Trump as better bet for softwood deal

VANCOUVER — Canada is more likely to reach a lasting solution for the softwood lumber trade dispute with the United States now that President Donald Trump is in power instead of Barack Obama, says British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

Speaking to a forestry conference in Vancouver on Friday, Clark said the new president has a background in construction and understands the impact the cost of materials has on a finished product.

It would have been hard to do any worse than the previous president when it comes to softwood lumber, she added.

“My experience has been that the Obama administration was not particularly interested in getting a softwood deal,” Clark told reporters after delivering her keynote address.

“I mean, they talked a nice talk and they put out nice press releases, but in all that time there wasn’t any real progress to getting a deal.”

The softwood lumber trade dispute has been a thorn in the side of federal and provincial governments for decades. The issue flared up again in late 2015 after the expiry of a nine-year agreement that had quelled the discord.

American lumber producers are pushing for their government to restrict trade on Canadian imports that they claim are unfairly subsidized.

Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s top negotiator in the softwood lumber trade dispute, also spoke at the Council of Forestry Industries’ annual convention Friday, saying bilateral talks on the issue have waned since Trump took office.

But the setback has more to do with the new administration having yet to appoint some of the key players to work on the file, she added.

“There was an active period at the end of the Obama administration when we were … working on this quite intensely,” Hillman said.

“Unfortunately, right now, with the change of administration, there isn’t as much of a conversation happening.”

Hillman said reaching a stable, predictable and fair agreement is one of the Canadian government’s top priorities.

B.C. has a large stake in the softwood lumber negotiations. The U.S. accounts for nearly 70 per cent of Canada’s softwood lumber exports, more than half of which come from B.C., Hillman said.

The province appointed David Emerson, former federal minister, to represent B.C. as its trade envoy in softwood lumber dealings.

Emerson helped create the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement and spoke candidly at Friday’s conference about the seemingly intractable issue.

“We are dealing with what you could probably call a hearty perennial, but I think you could more accurately refer to it as a mutating form of bacteria that has become all but antibiotic resistant,” he said, to laughter from the audience. “And that’s kind of where we are today.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off 2018 dancers revealed

In partnership with 2019 Canada Winter Games

Local haunted house offers a chilling Halloween experience

Chad and Jarita Carlson’s annual venture also supports the Lacombe Food Bank

Local church welcomes LGBTQ community

Gaetz Memorial United Church declares itself an Affirming Ministry

At mid-mandate and with extra cash, Liberals to chart fiscal course toward 2019

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government, right at the midpoint of its mandate,… Continue reading

Voter turnout down in this election

The voter turnout was estimated to be about 17 per cent, down from previous election

WATCH: A magical Harry Potter weekend in downtown Red Deer

Wizards, witches and muggles are flocking to downtown Red Deer to celebrate… Continue reading

Jason Kenney will be in Red Deer on Monday

The UCP candidate is hosting a series of town hall

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Sockey Night at Saturday’s Rebels game

United Way Central Alberta is determined to provide warm feet for all… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month