News BC is ‘champion’ as independent negotiator for softwood: MP SHARE ON: Kyle Balzer, staff Friday, Jun. 2nd, 2017 Softwood lumber stacked in an industrial yard | Stock Image On Thursday, the Federal Liberals introduced a new three-year, $867 million plan to aid softwood lumber workers in midst of proposed import tax increases by the United States. However, BC has lost thousands of jobs during the process of settling on a new trade deal with our southern neighbours. That’s according to local Conservative MP Todd Doherty, who says nearly 600 communities in BC, and across the country, are wishing this deal was already written and signed. “We are where we are because of their [Federal Government] inability to get the job done for the last two years; they didn’t take it seriously from the start, and they couldn’t get the deal done in 2016 with President Obama. I think Canadians wish that they were standing up in trumpeting that they have a new softwood lumber agreement.” The Feds’ funding is put forward as an attempt to counteract the American hikes. Doherty believes BC forestry families who’ve already suffered during these negotiations won’t have a chance to recover their business, and the money is coming too little too late. “When these mills close in some of these communities, they aren’t projects that job losses can be absorbed by. Many of these initiatives at the government are talking about, we won’t see fruition or values from those for years to come; the job losses are happening now.” Securing a new SLA wasn't a priority in 2015, PM didn't get it done in 2016 CDN's want jobs not EI #forestrymatters https://t.co/rVq4hAoxSf — Todd Doherty (@ToddDohertyMP) June 1, 2017 He says despite Trudeau and his colleagues’ lack of movement in Washington DC, the province should be praised for its efforts as an independent negotiator. “I’m very proud that our province was standing up and actually being a champion on the softwood issue, more so than others who were waiting in the wings and trumpeting that there wasn’t enough to be done. Premier Christy Clark was probably showing more leadership than what we saw at the Federal level.” BC NDP Leader John Horgan has stated he’s willing to work with the Prime Minister and help work out a fair deal that sees our province with the bigger cut. British Columbia is responsible for more than half of Canada’s imported softwood lumber product.