THE NDP on Tuesday pointed out that while Premier Christy Clark has been focused on her LNG fantasy, mills across the province have been closing. Under Clark’s BC Liberals, BC has seen more than 100 mills shuttered while losing 30,000 forestry jobs, and now her failure to get a new softwood deal puts thousands more in jeopardy.
Here’s a brief timeline as provided by the NDP of her complete failure to make any progress on a softwood lumber deal:
July 2015 (3 months before expiry):
- Christy Clark’s mandate letter to her Minister of International Trade fails to even mention softwood lumber.
October 2015 (Softwood Lumber Agreement expires):
- Christy Clark claims new deal will be her top priority with the newly elected Prime Minister.
March 2016 (5 months after expiry):
- Christy Clark prematurely celebrates “fantastic news” on softwood lumber, saying that she asked the Prime Minister to settle the deal, “and good on him, he got it done.”
- The BC NDP notes that even after Clark claimed a deal was her “top priority” with the new Prime Minister, she didn’t bother to include her Forestry Minister in a delegation to Ottawa.
October 2016 (1 year after expiry):
- End of the one-year stand-still provision following expiry of the Canada – US Softwood Lumber Agreement, opening the door to US companies filing for imposition of duties.
- John Horgan condemns Christy Clark’s inaction, noting “there don’t appear to be any plans in place to address possible trade action by the U.S.”
- Christy Clark cashes a $4500 cheque from Weyerhaeuser.
November 2016 (13 months after expiry):
- Led by major BC Liberal donor Weyerhaeuser, US lumber companies launch a complaint with the US Commerce Department calling for duties to be imposed on Canadian softwood.
January 2017 (15 months after expiry):
- The US International Trade Committee releases preliminary finding against Canadian softwood lumber products, advancing the clock on the imposition of new unfair duties.
- John Horgan calls out Christy Clark for being “asleep at the switch” on softwood lumber and pushes for her to fight to put BC workers and communities first.
February 2017 (16 months after expiry):
- Over a year after the deal expired, Christy Clark finally appoints a BC Trade Envoy to the United States.
- Clark praises Donald Trump as “a builder” and claims the odds of a deal under Trump have improved, saying “unpredictable change can sometimes be good.”
- Vancouver Sun reports that “BC Forests Minister Steve Thomson flew to Ottawa on Sunday to start working toward a new trade agreement on softwood lumber” 16 months after the deal expired.
- Alberta Premier Rachel Notley visits Washington “to press Alberta’s case” on trade.
- Christy Clark cashes another $5,000 cheque from Weyerhaeuser, four months after they filed a petition with the US Commerce Department to hike tariffs against Canadian softwood.
April 2017 (18 months after expiry):
- Brad Wall travels to Washington to advocate for Saskatchewan resources.
- Christy Clark again praises Trump as “a builder” and says “I think that may mean we start seeing some positive momentum. But I’m an optimist.”
- Four days before duties are expected to hit Canadian softwood, Christy Clark changes her tune, slamming Trump.
- Donald Trump attacks Canadian softwood lumber imports with new tariffs.
Today, more than 18 months after the expiry of the deal, the US Commerce Department announced massive unfair trade measures against Canadian softwood. Christy Clark’s failure to deliver a new agreement has thousands of direct and indirect forestry jobs at risk.