TORONTO, Jan. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The Conservative government's extension
of the Canada-US Softwood Lumber Agreement is the latest betrayal in a
long list of actions that have damaged the Canadian forest industry
says United Steelworkers (USW) Canadian Director Ken Neumann.
"Extending the softwood lumber agreement, while failing to even attempt
to address many of the problems it has worsened, or even consult with
forestry workers who have been impacted by job loss in the sector, adds
insult to injury to an industry that has been hard hit in recent
years," says Neumann.
"According to the Forest Sector Council, the Canadian Forest Industry
has lost about 100,000 jobs between 2004 and 2010. Already faced with a
lack of capital investment in operations, sawmills in British Columbia
and across Canada have seen their competitive advantage chipped away by
the government's softwood lumber agreement," added Steve Hunt, USW
District Director for Western Canada.
Since being signed in 2006, the agreement has imposed a 15% border tax
on Canadian companies exporting lumber to the United States. In
addition, the agreement's so-called "surge mechanism" discourages
operational investment by penalizing all lumber producers in a region
that exceeds its U.S. bound lumber quota, thereby encouraging
productivity enhancing investment in non-Canadian sawmills.
"The decline of forest industry across this country has devastated
communities, hurt families and led to thousands of job losses. By
extending an agreement that makes an already challenging situation even
worse, the Conservative government has demonstrated where their
priorities lie - and it's not with Canadian workers or communities,"
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Steve Hunt, USW District 3 Director, 604-816-2554
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, email@example.com