Mr. Speaker, the federal government is exposing taxpayers to a risk that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Pope & Talbot Lumber Company is suing under NAFTA because of what it says is unfair treatment in its amount of softwood lumber quota. The government is refusing to provide background documents to explain how its softwood quota was established. Without these documents the NAFTA tribunal is more likely to decide against Canada.
The government must demonstrate that favouritism and political considerations did not influence quota decisions. By agreeing to the 1996 softwood lumber agreement and then setting up a secret and flawed administration, the government has invited this NAFTA challenge. The softwood agreement has already cost Canadians billions. It is time for the government to demonstrate that it has nothing to hide.