April 23rd, 2017

Liberal Leader Christy Clark says U.S. “greed” driving softwood spat

By The Canadian Press on April 21, 2017.

Reporters watch the British Columbia election leadership live radio debate with NDP Leader John Horgan, Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver on a television in Vancouver, Thursday, April 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. – British Columbia Liberal Leader Christy Clark says the United States lumber industry is “driven by greed,” and she is the candidate who can lead the province to a softwood agreement with American producers.

Campaigning in Williams Lake, B.C., at a log home manufacturing business, Clark told a gathering she has been leading the fight for a softwood agreement for the last two years and does not intend to stop.

She says 140 forestry-dependent communities in the province are relying on her to use the courts and persuasion, to overcome what she calls the “selfish and greedy argument” from U.S. lumber barons to increase the price of softwood.

Leaders in several communities who have seen recent mill closures have said Clark hasn’t done enough to force lumber firms to mill the wood in the towns where it is cut.

Clark told her supporters she wants to see every tree used completely, but policies that required timber to be processed where it was cut harmed competitiveness and left B.C. companies vulnerable to criticism from U.S. producers.

A Liberal news release says the province has worked for more than a decade to reduce reliance on the U.S. lumber market by increasing exports to China and building trade links with India, Korea and Japan.

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