WATCH: Canada’s Prime Minister waded into the B.C. campaign today.
Justin Trudeau sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark.
In it, he writes that he’s seriously considering a request of hers to tax U.S. coal exports leaving British Columbia.
As Mary Griffin reports, some say the timing of the letter is everything.
A freighter leaves the port of Westshore Terminals in Tsawwassen.
Loaded with coal, it’s likely heading to Asian steel mills.
This facility moves 33 million tonnes of coal every year, the majority mined in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming.
BC Liberal leader Christy Clark wants to impose a ban or tax on these thermal coal exports.
“We are going to stand strong to make sure we support jobs in British Columbia,” says Clark. “We are going to fight, and fight hard to make sure that we preserve what we have in the face of U.S. protectionism.”
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau notified Clark in a letter he’s considering her requests.
In a letter, Trudeau writes: “…the Government is considering this request carefully, and seriously…”
“I think it’s terrific timing for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.
I’m a bit surprised that the prime minister would weigh in and wait another few days until after the election.”
The United States slapped a 20 per cent tax on all Canadian softwood lumber imports.
Clark wants retaliatory action, so is targeting thermal coal exports.
In Richmond, BC NDP leader John Horgan says that’s going too far.
“That’s saber rattling. We have a serious trade issue before us,” says Horgan. “The softwood industry is pivotal to our economy. It’s pivotal to forest-dependent communities here on the island, and right across BC.”
And in the last four intense days of campaigning, timing is everything, says Prince.
“There’s a fair question to be asked whether it’s appropriate for a prime minister to be speaking on such a high profile issue that one of the candidates, admittedly the incumbent premier, has weighed in on publicly,” says Prince. “This couldn’t have waited for another week?”
And the impact may be seen over the next few days.