Prime Minister Stephen Harper notched his first cross-border triumph Thursday, announcing a tentative agreement to end the long-standing lumber trade war with the United States.
Harper apparently intervened personally with U.S. President George W. Bush when the deal showed signs of foundering this week on opposition from the Canadian lumber industry.
"There were discussions at the highest levels with the United States," International Trade Minister David Emerson said in an interview from Washington.
An amended package that improved Ontario and Quebec market shares and lessened a penalty seen as discriminatory against British Columbia was tabled Thursday morning.
Harper told the Commons the revised deal, reached after two days of intensive talks, benefits all lumber-producing regions in Canada.
The opposition parties quickly attacked the deal. NDP Leader Jack Layton called it a "sellout," and Liberal Leader Bill Graham sarcastically said it was "a great day - for the American industry." (source)