(KENORA) June 1, 2017 – The Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for the Kenora riding endorsed today’s announcement of almost $1 billion in financial supports for softwood lumber producers and their employees.
“I fully support the measures announced today by the federal government to reinforce our forest industry,” stated Nault. “We recognize that with a Canada-U.S. agreement still in negotiation, and the recent unfair tariffs imposed by the U.S., this investment is extremely important to not only the Canadian industry, but also the forestry companies here in our riding.”
The announcement was made today by the Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade.
The $867 million in measures will help support forest industry workers and communities affected by U.S. measures targeting softwood lumber. This includes federal loans and loan guarantees to complement provincial efforts for viable Canadian companies. Export Development Canada (EDC) will make commercial financing and risk management solutions, including loans and loan guarantees, valued at up to $500 million to assist forestry companies. The Government’s support also includes investments to diversify forest products and markets, to increase the industry’s resilience to the trade actions, and promote its long-term health.
“Moving forward, our government will continue to fight hard against the unfair and unwarranted trade action by the U.S., while still negotiating a settlement that is in the best interests of both countries,” added Nault “We have fought similar types of allegations of subsidies previously and won several times. We are confident that we will succeed again. However, we want to see a long-term settlement that gives this industry stability now and in the future.”
Canada’s forest sector is a vital part of the economy. More than 300,000 Canadians are directly or indirectly employed in the forest industry, including 9,500 direct jobs in Indigenous communities. The forest industry also represents $22 billion of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. The U.S. plays a central role in the industry as a trade partner, with nearly $3 million in forest products crossing the U.S. border every hour of every day.
Additional measures announced today include more than $260 million in new funding to:
- support efforts to expand overseas markets and promote the diversification of Canadian wood products beyond those targeted by U.S. duties on softwood lumber;
- help Indigenous communities and organizations improve the performance of their forest sector initiatives;
- provide a temporary extension of the maximum period for Work-Sharing agreements from 38 to 76 weeks in order to reduce layoffs; and
- expand supports to help affected workers upgrade their skills and transition to new opportunities.
“This announcement clearly signals our government’s firm commitment to defending our forest industry, our workers and their families. Here in our riding, the industry has faced and overcome these types of challenges before. With this investment and support, I strongly believe we will prevail again,” concluded Nault.
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