Mr. Speaker, over the past 15 years there has been, almost in every year, a countervail action taken by the United States against the Canadian softwood lumber industry. This has caused major uncertainty in the industry. It has resulted in major costs to the industry. There was $800 million collected on export fees alone by the United States during one period. It has caused enormous disruptions in the marketplace.
The Canadian government negotiated a five-year agreement in which there will be no countervail whatsoever so there can be an orderly marketing arrangement between Canada and the United States without any threat of trade actions. That agreement was based on a level of 16.4 billion board feet, which is the highest level in the last 10 years, with the exception of one year, based on average exports.
That was the deal which was arrived at. It was supported by the exporting provinces. It was supported by the industry. It was put into an agreement and now the export market is proceeding.
In the meantime, certain lumber companies rushed to the border, exceeded their quota and they are now in the position of saying: "We do not want to play by the rules any more".
The Minister for International Trade set up certain safety valves. They can borrow quota against their values for next year. They can provide extra fees if they want to export more. It is all there, but they cannot continue to say: "Simply because we are not getting our cake and eating it too we want to change the rules". The rules are there to ensure there is effective marketing and safety of the industry against countervail costs being imposed by the United States industry.