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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Conservatives accept US trade dominance

Today, Stephen Harper abandoned one his favourite campaign slogans-

"If you do a serious crime, you’re going to do serious time".


When the americans broke the law, Harper caved and lowered the penalties against the US government for breaking the law. NAFTA and the WTO were uncompromising in their support for the Canadian position in the softwood lumber trade war. But Stephen Harper was more appeasing. Canada won the court rulings and the conservatives negotiated a less favourable for Canadians.

For starters, Canada will not get interest on the $5 billion of illegal fees that the US charged on Canadian softwood lumber companies. We won't even get the base amount back. Instead, the conservatives settled for 78%. That means the conservatives accept the US case that Canadians should be penalized for following trade law. Instead of paying $5 billion to the US government, we are paying $1 billion now to the US. Also, on the day the loonie rose to record heights, the amount Canadian companies will be repaid at the a more favourable currency rate for the Americans. What a proud day for Canada!

But it doesn't end there. The conservatives have agreed to collect an export tax on Canadian lumber if its price is too low. Trade law says we don't have to appease the americans but Stephen Harper has his secret agenda to fullfill. It's a good day for David Orchard to launch his leadership bid. Why should we continue have free trade with the US when the violate trade laws and Canada is punished 22% on our exports for abiding by the law?

3 Comments:

At April 27, 2006 10:16 AM, HearHere said...

From what I understand there is NO DEAL. The Globe & Mail was leaked a 10 page discussion document on establishing a framework for the negotiations.

Thinking they had a big leak all of the talking heads are now giving their opinions. When the government said there is no deal- that there is a lot more to negotiate and they have to work with industry and the provinces before there can be any deal WHY are all of the headlines and talking heads talking about a deal that does not exist yet. That includes loose lips Layton who does not have a clue about what he is spouting off about - proceeds of crime????

This political posturing and media whoring is going to really hurt negotiations. And, ultimately it will further hurt the industry and the people involved.

This, quite frankly, is a very good example of why the media in this country is not responsible enough to be trusted with any information. I have not seen too many stories that they don't skrew up - instead of facts we get opinions based on fallacy.

Does this not concern you?

 
At April 27, 2006 8:55 PM, canadianwild.ca said...

The most troubling part of the deal is the aftermath. If the US bullied Canada on softwood lumber, will they do the same for other products- to bolster their economy. The premiers somehow support this deal but the lumber industry is mad because they are being punished for following the law. The opposition talked tough but if they deal goes through will they pull the plug on the government.


“Stephen Harper has completely undermined the credibility of the NAFTA dispute settlement process and has capitulated to the US lobbies and George Bush.” Jack Layton



“They will use Canadian money to continue their fight to impose unfair restrictions on Canada's lumber industry.” Bill Graham

 
At April 28, 2006 1:06 PM, CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Harper's Munich?

When Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stepped off the plane on 30 September, 1938 after the Munich Conference had ended the day before, he waved an infamous piece of paper, which read as follows:

"We, the German Führer and Chancellor, and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for our two countries and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again. We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe."

Chamberlain later went to 10 Downing St. and said:
"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time...
Go home and get a nice quiet sleep."

Now, in April 2006, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, is symbolically waving a piece of paper and speaking of a "good deal" he has struck with President Bush of the USA.

"Sellout" Stephen has "resolved" the softwood dispute, so the news says. He has done this by going on bended knee to a President who has gained a reputation – not shared by any other President to date – for spurning legalities, ignoring the rule of law, and unilaterally breaking legally binding treaties entered into between nations.

In so doing, Sellout Stephen has agreed to allow the USA to breach its obligations owed to Canada under a legally binding treaty (NAFTA), despite clear court and tribunal decisions supporting Canada's position.

What are the implications of this incredibly shortsighted and stupid decision by this so-called "policy wonk" Prime Minister? Here are a few:

• Harper has telegraphed to the USA and to others that Canada will not insist on legally binding international treaties being upheld.

• Harper and his New Tories have shown that Canada is run by a weak government, which can be easily browbeaten, and which will settle for less than the country is entitled to.

• Harper has shown contempt for the rule of law equal to the contempt shown by Bush during his failed presidency. This is a new and dangerous path for a Prime Minister of Canada to tread, and reveals a startling moral lack on the part of the New Tories.

• Harper will sell out any principles for short term political gain, especially if by doing so he can curry favour with the USA.

The question can now be asked: Who speaks for Canada?

Apparently not this Prime Minister.

It is time for him to go.

 

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