Today, the Prime Minister updated the mandate letters for his new Ministers of International Trade and Foreign Affairs. Missing from both letters are two priorities that deeply affect Canadian jobs and the economy; negotiating a new Softwood Lumber agreement with the United States and pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or alternative Asia-Pacific pact that would provide Canadians preferential market access in the region.
“The Canadian forestry sector is about to get hammered with increased duties at the border and these Ministers are allowing it to happen because the industry has never been a Liberal priority,” said Gerry Ritz, International Trade Critic. “It’s clear the Prime Minister lacks principle and is allowing the United States administration to dictate Canada’s policy on the TPP and our Asia-Pacific trade agenda.”
“It is clear that Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government do not have a plan when it comes to engaging with America to protect Canadian jobs,” said Randy Hoback, Opposition Critic for Canada-U.S. relations. “The fact that reaching an agreement on softwood lumber continues to be missing from any Minister’s mandate letter proves to Canada’s 400,000 forestry workers and their families that the Liberals do not consider them to be a priority.”
“It is deeply disappointing that the Prime Minister has once again chosen to leave the negotiation of a new softwood lumber agreement out of his mandate letters to his Ministers. Instead of rising to the occasion to fight for our forestry families, he has decided that softwood lumber is not a priority for his Liberal Government,” said Todd Doherty, Member of Parliament for Cariboo – Prince George.
Canada’s forestry sector generates approximately 400,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada. During the last softwood lumber dispute, over 15,000 jobs were lost in the province of British Columbia and cost the Canadian forestry sector $5.3-billion.
The United States has withdrawn as a signatory of the TPP and withdrawn from the TPP negotiating process. Japan has ratified the TPP and other remaining signatories like Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam have pledged to continue to pursue the TPP or an alternative trade pact without U.S. participation.
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Senior Communications Officer
Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition