Edmonton

Gary Doer meets with Alberta lumber industry, minister before heading to Washington

Gary Doer, Alberta’s advocate in the softwood lumber dispute with the United States, says he wants to balance the voices of the American lumber industry with the opinions of customers.

Former Canadian ambassador to U.S. hired to represent Alberta in softwood lumber talks with U.S.

Gary Doer (right) speaks to reporters at the Alberta legislature about his new role as the province's advocate in the softwood lumber dispute with the United States as Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier looks on. (CBC)

Gary Doer, Alberta's advocate in the softwood lumber dispute with the United States, says he wants to balance the voices of the American lumber industry with the opinions of customers.

Doer told reporters at the Alberta legislature Tuesday that U.S. lawmakers also need to hear the views of home builders and retailers like Home Depot. 

"We certainly have to pursue legal remedies but we would prefer to get a more sensible decision from our American decision-makers based on customer views, not just based on the narrow interests of the lumber lobby in the United States," he said.

Doer has been in Edmonton for the past two days meeting with Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier, his officials and representatives of the Alberta lumber industry.

Doer plans to head to Washington soon.

Last month, the United States imposed countervailing duties on lumber imported from Canada. The American lumber industry contends Canadian products are unfairly subsidized because the wood is harvested from Crown lands.

Doer was hired by the Alberta government earlier this month to help in Canada's efforts to resolve the softwood lumber dispute.

Doer served as Canada's ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 until 2016. Before that, he was the NDP premier of Manitoba from 1999 until 2009.

He is now a senior business adviser at global law firm Dentons, where he works on Canada-U.S. cross-border matters.

The government is paying Dentons a $10,000 monthly retainer fee for Doer's services.