Here we go again. Every few years, US lumber businesses demand US Department of Commerce apply countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber to thwart illegal/unfair subsidies. Problem is, there are no subsidies. In Canada, the federal government, the signatory to the NAFTA, does not subsidize softwood lumber. Neither do the provinces. The Feds do not control softwood lumber. The provinces do. As a long standing practice, provincial governments control the vast majority of forested regions in Canada and charge a duty to those who would cut wood.
I know about that, because I used to have a wood-heated home and I asked for a permit to cut 10 cords in an area marked for reforestation by Manitoba. It was just a few dollars. I don’t remember the amount, but I worked for several days felling huge trees and filling my pickup with firewood. That was just the beginning of the process. That wood required two years of drying before it would burn efficiently and I had to store it while drying. Nobody subsidized my firewood. I paid for everything. The permit/royalty system is eminently fair. There is a resource of known size. The government decides how much will be cut where and sells permits to anyone rich or poor, big or small. I was out in the bush dodging operations with bulldozers, loaders and huge trucks, but my chainsaw was permitted to cut what they left behind. Nobody subsidized anyone. We all worked hard doing what we had to do.
Now, the whiners in the US lumber industry don’t want Canadian lumber in their market but they can’t exclude it. Instead they whine that the royalty system is government intrusion in the market, a subsidy, when it’s not. It’s a tax. Effectively, the Canadian tax is less than the USAian tax determined by auctions. They keep taking this to court and LOSING.
So, bewildered Wilbur and stupid USAians who think the world should do things their way are doing everything they can to drive exports of softwood lumber to China and India… Smart. Real smart. Perhaps USAians won’t mind rising costs for building homes and shortages of lumber and deforestation and … Look, we Canadians don’t have to do things USA’s way. We are a free nation of free people and we choose our own path.