Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has been consistently clear in its message to the United States on softwood lumber: revoke the duty orders, refund the deposits and respect the NAFTA obligations.
Ever since the United States imposed crippling duties on Canadian softwood lumber in 2002, this government has worked tirelessly to have those duties overturned. Canadians know that we have fought and fought in the international arena and we have won and won, but our overriding concern in this dispute is to find a durable, long term solution. As such, the government has always been willing to negotiate a long term solution, but Canada suspended negotiations after the United States refused to abide by the NAFTA extraordinary challenge committee decision.
On August 10 the ECC unanimously affirmed that Canada's softwood lumber posed no threat of injury to the U.S. producers. This means that the United States is legally obligated to revoke duties and refund deposits. Nevertheless, the U.S. government dismissed the decision and claimed that on the basis of a legal technicality, it would continue to apply duties to Canadian softwood lumber.
We have raised the issue with the United States at the highest political levels. The Prime Minister made it very clear to President Bush that we expect the United States to respect its international trade obligations. In fact, as members know, very recently he did so courageously, not only in private with the President, but in the public international trade forum.
The Minister of International Trade has spoken with his counterparts numerous times to express Canada's strong concern over U.S. inaction on the lumber file. Ambassador McKenna and our consuls general in the United States are engaged in enhanced advocacy activities. The government is moving full speed ahead with lumber litigation before the U.S. Court of International Trade, the NAFTA and the WTO. We recently won another great victory in a NAFTA subsidy case, and Canadians were celebrating when the Department of Commerce finally complied with NAFTA panel instructions.
The government has taken strong action to support the industry while this has been occurring. In 2002-03 we funded FPAC advocacy. We funded $3 million for our Washington embassy advocacy work, the industry associations' litigation and worker assistance. We funded the Canada export program, R and D, value added research, mountain pine beetle work, the centre of excellence for pulp and paper, the boreal forest research consortium and the softwood industry community economic adjustment initiative for a total of $356 million.
In the next two years we funded the industry associations for litigation. We allocated in the four years I have been talking about, the following: forestry, $20 million; forest research, $325,000; mountain pine beetle, another $100 million; and community support in Quebec, $50 million. A total of $526 million was allocated.
I have to congratulate the forestry caucus in the Liberal Party because they worked for months. We agree with other parties on loan guarantees, but that is not all. We put in many more ideas. We put in money so there are long term, lasting solutions for competitiveness. We put money in for bioenergy, for accelerated capital cost allowances, for forestry innovations and value added to expand our markets around the world, for skills training including hiring youth and under-represented groups, for helping communities to adjust, and industry support for small businesses.
The government's message is clear to the United States. The United States must abide by international obligations. We are sending the message to the United States administration and the American people that the Americans can no longer be under the illusion about what this government wants on softwood lumber. We want an end to the illegal U.S. duties and a refund of the duties that have been collected.