Couillard says he's ready to stand up to U.S. on softwood lumber

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard reiterated they are ready to dig in their heels in the dispute over softwood lumber duties with the U.S.

Couillard made the remarks at a news conference launching a $4.2-million, three year campaign to promote Quebec's softwood lumber industry. Quebec is investing $2.7M and the Quebec Forestry Industry Council is kicking in $1.35M.

The duties dispute has created anxiety in the sector, so much so that Quebec-based Resolute Forest Products has cut shifts and delayed operations, affecting over 1200 workers. 

Couillard said the situation with Resolute appears to stem from rising prices and American companies putting a stop on orders with the indirect effect of the duties dispute but he added they are monitoring the situation.

"They're not ordering as much as before so it remains to be seen how long this will last. We're ready for a long fight," said Couillard, adding they will stand by Quebec's industry.

"We'll move them to new products and new markets as well. And if later Americans come back and say, we would like to buy more of your wood, well, if we don't have anymore because we sold it elsewhere and transformed it into other products, so be it," said Couillard.

The promotion campaign includes ads and the participation of 40 groups including unions and schools.