REGINA, Sask. — Canadian officials have suggested we could be in for a major trade war with the U.S. after it chose to ignore a ruling in favour of Canada over the softwood lumber dispute.
Trade Minister Jim Peterson reportedly said Canada could slap tariffs on American products that would result in minimal damage domestically while stinging the U.S. where it hurts most. The comments were reiterated by two of his Cabinet colleagues who were visiting Saskatchewan yesterday.
“I have a background from my younger days in hockey. When somebody slammed you into the boards with undue force and aggression, you took their number,” Industry Minister, David Emerson told reporters. “I think we’ve got to take their number.”
Canadian officials are upset the U.S. has refused to reimburse the Canadian lumber industry for $4.1 billion in illegal duties. The softwood lumber dispute has dragged on since 2002, despite the fact NAFTA panels have repeatedly ruled in Canada’s favour.
According to CNN, Emerson warned Canada would “identify a number of products where a tariff on American exports into Canada can be applied without serious damage to the Canadian economy and, hopefully, with maximum impact in the U.S.”
Canada ships about 80 per cent of its exports to the U.S. and exchanges $1 billion in goods each day. Finance Minister Ralph Goodale admitted Canada will have to retaliate "Without at the same time shooting ourselves in the foot."
“Canada has wanted to make it very clear that we are not happy with the position of the United States to simply ignore what is a clear NAFTA ruling in Canada’s favor,” Goodale told reporters.
One possibility would be charting export quotas on Canadian oil, but Emerson said that would unfairly punish oil-producing regions such as Alberta.
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