Softwood Lumber

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, given the ongoing softwood lumber fiasco and the fact that Quebec and Ontario are not going along with the Aldonas policies, is it not time for the trade minister to abandon the strategy of provincial concessions that B.C. is still pushing and make it clear that Canada has a right to make its own forestry policies?

Will the minister be clear and state he will not sell out Canadian forestry policies and jobs? Will he assert that position both to B.C. and more important, to the U.S.?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me be clear that our government has always pursued a two track approach. We are absolutely free in this country to pursue the forestry practices we want in our own country according to our own sovereignty. We will win before the courts at the WTO and NAFTA.

However, the British Columbia government of Mr. Campbell was elected last time with its own plan of changes for forestry management practices. He was elected with the mandate of doing that. It is the sovereignty of the British Columbia legislature that will adopt the changes promoted by a government elected on that platform.

This Question Period Transcript was posted on April 7, 2003