City backs federal government during softwood lumber negotiations

By Bryan Eneas
October 12, 2017 - 2:00pm

The city of Prince Albert is throwing support behind the federal government during NAFTA negotiations with the United States surrounding softwood lumber.

A motion put forward by Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky at Tuesday’s council meeting called for Mayor Greg Dionne to urge the government to negotiate a deal which guarantees the U.S. access to Canadian softwood.

With the fourth round NAFTA re-negotiation discussions underway, Nowoselsky said his motion asks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to gather more input from the country’s municipalities.

“It’s just saying ‘we support you, we want fair trade for our lumber products,’” he said. “We’re asking the support goes to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.”

Nowoselsky also called for Dionne to forward all correspondence to the Minister of Natural Resources, asking him to immediately mitigate any American softwood lumber duties by providing emergency loan guarantees. His motion states doing so would assist affected facilities and support employees and communities.

Nowoselsky’s motion also asks Dionne to urge the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to reboot its softwood lumber task force. The task force was responsible for coordinating a response and a “comprehensive campaign strategy” between municipalities in Canada.

Coun. Don Cody previously sat on the softwood task force. He agreed with Nowoselsky’s motion.

“We have been hurt by the U.S. constantly putting tariffs on us,” Cody said. “[We met] several places with some [American] mayors, and they were just disgusted with the federal system in the U.S. because they really want our lumber badly… but they can’t get our lumber because of the tariffs.”

Cody said the U.S. has come after Canada five times regarding softwood lumber, and Canada has won every time. He said he sees the re-negotiations of NAFTA as one more attempt by the U.S. to beat Canada on the topic of softwood lumber.

---With files from Tyler Marr.


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