Vive Le Canada

Softwood should not spoil good relations, Wilkins says
Date: Thursday, October 20 2005

Softwood should not spoil good relations, Wilkins says

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 Posted at 10:11 PM EDT

Associated Press

Quebec City — Quebec Premier Jean Charest says there are encouraging signs an end is in sight for the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the United States.

Mr. Charest made the comments after meeting with U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins on Tuesday.

Mr. Charest explained his optimism by saying that Mr. Wilkins had given him assurances the issue is being discussed at high levels within the U.S. administration.

He also said Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke with U.S. President George W. Bush over the phone on Friday.

Mr. Wilkins, meanwhile, reiterated his message that both sides must not let softwood lumber differences spoil the otherwise good relations between the two countries

“I understand fully Quebec's position, Canada's position and frustration on this issue of softwood lumber. You have valid points,” Mr. Wilkins said.

“So to does the United States.”

Mr. Charest said the conflict has caused serious damage to Quebec's economy because of the uncertainty it's generated along with lost jobs.

This is Mr. Wilkins first official trip to Quebec in the three months since he took over as ambassador


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