Pressure from big-name U.S. wood retailers will be Alberta’s key ally in resolving the softwood lumber dispute, says the man hired to plead the province’s case.

Former U.S. ambassador Gary Doer was in Edmonton Tuesday to meet with government officials.

Canada is on the side of justice when it comes to lumber legal rulings, Doer said, and he’s confident we will win once again.

The problem, he said, is that a positive outcome will take too long for the 19,000 Albertans who work in the industry.

“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,” Doer said Tuesday.

He’s hoping explaining the benefits of Canadian wood — its affordability, its quality — to retailers like Home Depot, and filtering that through to their customers and home builder associations, will short-circuit lengthy legal processes.

“We think we have people on our side, but they’re not necessarily the voices that are being listened to in the initial decisions,” Doer said.

President Donald Trump recently slapped tariffs as high as 24 per cent on exports of lumber, claiming the Canadian lumber industry is unfairly subsidized.

Canadian governments and industry have called the charges baseless and Ottawa is currently considering retaliatory measures.

While Alberta will continue along its track of legal challenges, Doer said it’s critical to establish a secondary plan of attack — hence targeting customers.

“They’re always the key, because they are constituents, and constituents are the keys to decision makers,” Doer said.

“If we don’t do it, we won’t succeed.”