PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — With U.S. duties on softwood set to be imposed later this month, a forestry executive has thrown his support behind the export of raw logs to the U.S.
John Mann, vice-president of TimberWest, says Canada would by hypocritical about free trade if it didn’t allow raw log exports, yet challenged the U.S. over the softwood duties.
"To put any kind of restriction on raw log export would be cutting off our nose to spite our face," Mann told a Coastal Communities conference this weekend. "We can’t afford to be hypocritical about free trade by restricting raw log exports."
Mann went on to tell the audience the latest round of duties are just a symptom of a much larger problem.
"If it were over tomorrow, we’d still have an industry that’s not healthy," says Mann. "But I have 700 loggers working because I export those raw logs."
Port Hardy Mayor, Russ Hellberg, chimed in with his opinion on the subject as well, representing one of the many B.C. communities that relies on the forestry industry for survival.
"I believe if we’re going to do free trade, we have to go all out," says Hellberg. "Full free trade does include raw logs, it does include lumber."
Darrell Wong, IWA local 2171 president, was quick to disagree with the practice, despite the fact many of his members are still working thanks to the exporting of raw logs. He says the closure of mills is an inevitable side-effect of raw log exports, and in the end, that hurts the industry more than anything.
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