2011-01-26

Softwood lumber dispute heats up over salvage timber

When British Columbia government officials sat down in Washington in 2009 over simmering lumber issues, one of their counterparts in the U.S. department of commerce pushed a five-year-old newspaper article across the table and then sat back while the Canadians read it.

It was a Vancouver Sun story from 2004 describing the official, Jim Terpstra, as one of the most hated men in British Columbia. Terpstra was the man who, in 2001, set the onerous duties on Canadian lumber that ignited the five-year-long softwood lumber war. The newspaper article, which he took obvious pride in, was Terpstra's way of letting the B.C. delegation know that he was in this for the long term. He was a veteran of the softwood war and was still in fighting trim.

"He's been a constant on this file," said John Allan, president of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries. Allan has been on the file himself since 1996.