Statement by the Prime Minister on the softwood lumber agreement

Ottawa, Ontario
1 July 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, joined by Minister David Emerson and Minister Maxime Bernier, today issued the following statement announcing the conclusion of a softwood lumber agreement:

“On April 27, Canada’s New Government reached a framework agreement with the United States to bring an end to the longstanding softwood lumber dispute.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Canadian and U.S. officials have taken another important step and finalized the legal text of this agreement.

“This is a great day for Canada. It brings greater certainty to the resolution of the dispute and allows us to immediately begin drafting legislation that we will present to the House of Commons as soon as Parliament returns in September.

“The agreed text also affirms the Government’s resolve to deliver results for workers and their industry. Canadians asked us to achieve a resolution that provides stability to our softwood lumber industry and protects the livelihoods of workers, communities and families across the country.

"And, today, we have delivered.

“I want to recognize the efforts of Ambassador Michael Wilson and his team, who have worked tirelessly on this important issue. And as well, I thank the provinces and industry for their support as we’ve worked towards finding a solution that is good for Canada and all Canadians.

“Our government's commitment to the best interests of Canada's softwood industry is clear in every aspect of today's final agreement," added David Emerson, Minister of International Trade. “Built on the framework we announced this spring, the agreement means a full revocation of American duty orders, ends years of costly litigation, protects Canadian forestry policies and puts more than US $4 billion back into the pockets of Canadian exporters.

“The team approach we established in this process with provinces and industry representatives has been key to achieving a final agreement that truly benefits communities and workers across Canada.

"We have stood behind Canadian lumber producers at every step, and our priority now is to get payments into their hands as quickly as possible," said Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry. “This finalized agreement brings certainty to our softwood industry in every region of the country. And we look forward to bringing enabling legislation to the House of Commons as soon as Parliament returns in the fall.

“It demonstrates that, as two countries, we will disagree at times. But with goodwill and mutual respect, we can resolve our differences in a positive manner for both sides,” added Prime Minister Harper. “With this dispute behind us, we can now focus on constructive efforts aimed at strengthening North American prosperity, building a strong economy with good jobs and a better life for all.”