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'Canada always prevails'

A made-in-Canada solution to help softwood producers and workers weather the storm of U.S. duties has been delayed at least until the end of May.

It has been almost a month since the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped import duties of three to 24 per cent on Canadian softwood, arguing Canada unfairly subsidizes its industry by keeping the price of logging artificially low.

Cabinet discussed a package of options for up to $1 billion in aid for the softwood industry earlier this week, but negotiations with industry and provincial governments are still underway.

A source with knowledge of the negotiations says Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr had hoped to have the plan ready to present publicly by the end of this week, but things didn't quite come together in time.

The House of Commons is off next week for a break week, which means the earliest cabinet can discuss and finalize the plan now is May 30.

Multiple sources say there were meetings at the provincial level to discuss the package options this past week. A Quebec source told the Canadian Press the government was reluctant at first to do any kind of aid package, but has since changed its mind.

Quebec and Ontario have been pressing Ottawa to get loan guarantees ready since at least February.

The Americans have been wrong about Canada's softwood industry before, and this time is no different, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

"The fact that every time the U.S. has done this over the past decades they've been shown to be wrong in doing that and we know that we're going to be able to continue to stand and defend Canada's industry," Trudeau said during a stop in Surrey, B.C.

Trudeau said the import tariffs the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped on Canadian softwood imports last month are unfair and punitive, and that Canada won't back down on the issue without a fight.



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