Quebec has committed to providing loan guarantees to companies adversely affected by the softwood lumber dispute with the United States, even if the federal government doesn’t come on board.
Premier Philippe Couillard confirmed the establishment of a system, if necessary, in response to a question Thursday from Opposition leader Jean-Francois Lisee.
During Question Period, the premier said his government would act as required to offset real damage caused to companies, regardless of Ottawa’s participation.
The province has already asked Ottawa to set up loan guarantees, but Couillard had not previously indicated he would act unilaterally if the federal government refused to participate.
The softwood lumber dispute reignited two weeks ago after the U.S. Lumber Coalition formally petitioned the American government to impose duties to offset the harm to U.S. mills, workers and communities by what it claims is subsidized Canadian softwood lumber.
Industry analysts expect that following an investigation, the U.S. government will impose preliminary duties next April of between 25 and 40 per cent.