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Kenora jumps on softwood issue (June 01, 2002)

KENORA, Ont. - Kenora council is sending a clear message to the federal government to fight the U.S. on the softwood tariffs imposed several months ago.The first statement: "Whereas the American tarif...


KENORA, Ont. – Kenora council is sending a clear message to the federal government to fight the U.S. on the softwood tariffs imposed several months ago.

The first statement: “Whereas the American tariff against Canadian softwood lumber is an act of economic aggression against Canadian forest communities and workers,” really sets the tone for the rest of Kenora’s resolution, which was passed earlier this week.

The resolution goes on to condemn aggression by the American lumber producers against Canada’s forest industry, communities and workers.

Mayor Dave Canfield says the message to the federal government is to not give in to the U.S.

“What we’re saying is don’t back down,” he says to local media. “Once you give in you’re giving up your sovereignty.”

Thunder Bay is one of the first communities to pass the resolution and it is being presented at councils throughout Northwestern Ontario. The resolution originated with the Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada.

“It has turned a light on,” says Canfield. He adds Canada should keep the wood, make products out of it and sell those in foreign markets.

His solution to overcome lost lumber sales to the U.S. is to expand value-added industries to use the wood in Canada.

The resolution will be forwarded to the Prime Minister, the federal Minister of Trade, Ontario’s Premier and Minister of Natural Resources as well as the local MP and MPP.

The Kenora resolution appears to have struck a chord with people from other provinces, too.

David Brand of Winnipeg tells Truck News he commends Canfield for his public statement about producing finished goods rather than shipping raw lumber to the U.S.

“Quit raping our natural resources for a quick buck to satisfy the few in the forest industry,” he writes. “We have many skilled people who are underemployed, or worse unemployed altogether, who could easily craft desks, chairs, furniture or pre-fabricated homes and components for shipment free of tariffs under the free trade agreement.”

With the dollar sagging to new lows he says it is about time someone championed activities to contribute positively to Canada’s Gross National Product.

“All industries, including transportation, would benefit from increased industrialization of Canada,” he adds.


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