Mr. Speaker, the executive vice-president and general manager of the Free Trade Lumber Council, Carl Grenier, has said that yesterday was a very sad day for the softwood lumber industry in Quebec and Canada.
The federal government's stubborn refusal to provide solid support for the softwood lumber industry led to the situation we are in today.
Softwood lumber companies are not to blame for caving in to pressure from the Americans. The current and previous federal governments are to blame for refusing to put in place a serious aid program for the industry, including loan guarantees, as the Bloc Québécois, companies and workers demanded. Such measures would have put us in a stronger negotiating position and resulted in a better agreement.
In addition, by accepting an agreement that goes against the principle of full free trade, the Prime Minister weakened NAFTA and its dispute settlement mechanisms.