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Motion to Study and Report on the Softwood Agreement

Yesterday in the Senate, Senator Ringuette presented a motion for the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to study and report on the Canada-United States agreement on softwood lumber.  The Senator also wanted to table a copy of the proposed agreement with her motion which was denied by the government leadership in the Senate.  Senator Ringuette proposed that the Committee analyse, among other things, the impact of Canada's resource management on sovereignty, the impact on the interpretation of NAFTA chapters 11 and 19, and provisions contained in the agreement with regard to financial support for the industry and its workers.


“We cannot afford a short-term gain for a long-term pain. This Conservative government wants to speed up the process and get this deal signed by June 15, but to do it very quickly is really risky because we risk not getting it right. If we don't get it right, then this deal will turn out be worse for our Canadian Forest Industry than what we see now” declared Senator Ringuette.


Last September, Mr. Harper stated:  “There can be no question of Canada returning to a conventional bargaining table, as the U.S. Ambassador has suggested. You don’t negotiate after you’ve won. The issue is compliance and achieving full compliance should be the objective of the Prime Minister”. In reality, with this softwood lumber agreement he not only negotiated but he caved in to the U.S. government by agreeing to a deal that would see the Americans keep $1 billion of the tariffs illegally collected at the expense of Canadian industry and he willingly gave up our provincial and national sovereignty over the management of our natural resources.


Senator Ringuette also added:  “I believe that there is a serious requirement for transparency and the need for at least an examination of this agreement and its consequences on our industry and its workers. Canadians want good governance. They want to know what is the content and consequences of the agreements that the Government will sign on their behalf. They want greater openness and transparency. ”