Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns is calling on the federal Liberals to act decisively after the U.S. Department of Commerce levied tariffs on Canada with a 22 per cent anti-dumping duty on uncoated roundwood paper, used to make newsprint.
“Once again, we have been hit by unfair tariffs by the Trump administration while our prime minister remains silent,” Johns said in a news release Wednesday. “He needs to act immediately in the interest of the thousands of workers in British Columbia who will be negatively impacted. Our mills have been decimated, jobs lost and families imperilled by the failure of the Liberal government to protect this industry.”
It’s been four months since the U.S. hit the forestry industry with duties on softwood lumber affecting over 200,000 Canadian workers, Johns said. Around the same time, they hit the aerospace industry with tariffs affecting another 200,000 workers.
And it’s been a week since the near miss of tariffs on steel and aluminum which could affect an additional 150,000 workers if NAFTA renegotiations don’t go well.
North Island-Powell River NDP Rachel Blaney says tariffs on exports of Catalyst Paper products made at the Powell River mill will be a top priority when Parliament resumes next week in Ottawa.
“We will fight for our workers, their jobs and this industry that has been hit with this second round of punitive tariffs,” Blaney said in a news release. “We need leadership, not lip service, from the prime minister to protect these jobs. We cannot wait and hope that President Trump will one day treat Canada as a fair trading partner. That is not an effective response to these American protectionist measures that threaten the sustainability of the industry and pose a real threat to many communities like Powell River. There’s millions of dollars in payroll, taxes and other investments at stake.
“The large NDP caucus from British Columbia and Quebec know firsthand the damage these tariffs pose,” she added. “There is much work to do to overturn these preliminary decisions before the final determination of both the countervailing duty and anti-dumping duty expected in early August. We will be pressing the government to defend this industry from further hardship.”
An estimated $64 billion could be lost, and half a million Canadians could see their job impacted by the imposed tariffs and duties from the U.S.
Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world. The U.S. Department of Commerce claims Canada has been dumping newsprint into the American market and unfairly subsidizing its industry at home.
“How many rounds of tariffs do we have to withstand before the Liberal government gets serious about international trade,” Johns said. “Our forestry industry is already devastated by the export of raw logs and this only makes things worse. The time for action is now, and to protect this essential sector from still more unnecessary hardship and job losses.”