An important issue to this province and region, in particular, is lacking attention this election campaign. The Softwood Lumber Agreement with the US expires on October 12th, one week before the federal election. However, it has not gotten an play during the campaign, something political pundit Pat Bell says is surprising.
“It is interesting issue, the Softwood Lumber Agreement, because it is a very important one, especially here in British Columbia, but also in Quebec and other provinces that have a significant forestry presence. The fact it’s not an election issue is a surprise to all of us. It should be. It’s a far bigger deal for British Columbia than the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement that is still being negotiated. So it does make the industry nervous. A deal of this nature could easily take a year or more to negotiate and it’s an important one for everyone.”
He says, the one-year grace period after October 12 may be a reason there is no major uptick at this point, but things should start to “ramp up” in five or six months.