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Feds reluctant to help softwood victims

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Help was on the way for companies hurt in the softwood battle with the U.S., but it has been reject...


OTTAWA, Ont. — Help was on the way for companies hurt in the softwood battle with the U.S., but it has been rejected by the feds for fear it would spark more trade action from the U.S.

A $400-million loan-guarantee program has been rejected by the federal government, reportedly because it was a pricey proposition and over fear it could trigger more trade action which could affect Atlantic Canada. That’s the only region currently exempt from the U.S. softwood duties.

Meanwhile Ottawa has also rejected a $300-million pension program proposed to fund early retirement packages for older workers in the forestry industry. The province of B.C. was a strong advocate of the proposed pension program.

Dave Haggard, president of the Industrial Wood and Allied Workers of Canada, says he is now working on a $200-million proposal. However, Haggard says Ottawa is opposed to passive assistance programs and doesn’t want to set a precedent


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