Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Soft-headed on Softwood

Well, I guess this will show those 'Mericans how Paul Martin's government deals with an "unacceptable" flouting of NAFTA:

Despite heightened rhetoric earlier in the day by high-ranking cabinet officials and the Prime Minister, Mr. Peterson said Canada would wait until after it received WTO approval and performed extensive consultation with Canadians before retaliatory tariffs would be considered in the softwood lumber dispute.

“We have not made that decision. We will pursue all measures including litigation, possible retaliation, and heightened political advocacy,” Mr. Peterson said.

Okay, so let's not show all our cards. Given that the United States imports so much of our oil, at least let them sweat a little, thinking we might look at that. Oops - spoke too soon:

One particularly Draconian measure has already been ruled out — imposing export quotas on Canadian oil exports to punish alleged U.S. protectionism on lumber.
I don't get it. All this soft-pedaling in the face of a totally domineering and disrespectful attitude from the U.S. government. They are the ones who pushed for the FTA and later, NAFTA. Now here they are treating the agreement like it's just another meaningless piece of paper signed by some mis-guided previous administration.

We've seen it time and time again with Bushco: the land-mines treaty, the Comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty (though that was Clinton who rejected it in '99), the International Criminal Court, and let's not forget the UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

These guys are world-class bullies, and proud of it. Canada should follow the European Union's example and fight fire with fire, because we're not dealing with reasonable people here.

This softwood lumber dispute has been a contentious issue for years now, and soft diplomacy has only gotten us one back-handed slap after another. If the United States refuses to respect NAFTA's rules when it suits them, then so must we. Canadians don't agree on a whole lot, but we certainly can agree we don't want to be Bush's punching bag. Let the sanctions begin, and make sure they target the so-called Red states hardest.

Update: More on this topic by Timmy the G at Voice in the Wilderness

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Mingyiu Gyatso said...

I humbly apologize for my country's arrogance and stupidity.

I love your country -- especially Quebec. Though my French sucks, I always have a wonderful time visiting your province and hope to return soon.

You deserve better neighbors.

Scott in Montreal said...

Mingyiu Gyatso - thanks for the kind words. My french could use some improvement too. You guys are actually very good neighbours. But your govt...

Joycie said...

Thanks for telling me about your Blog Bog, Scott.... you're off to a good start so why not just "knock 'em stiff" with the power of some well chosen words.

heyday said...

I think that if Canada starts not to respect NAFTA's rules like the US,it will not make us smarter than them.They are making their money exploiting other peoples natural ressources and cheap labor for their own profit.All of that makes me wonder:Are they being too arrogant with us or is it us who are to scared of them to complain?I do not think Canadians hate Americans,they just hate their government .But we've got not to forget that the first word in USA is US.