Sunday, August 14, 2005

Free Trade? deja vu all over again

Once again the Americans ignore the ruling against them on softwood lumber and simply refuse to abide by the present Free Trade Agreement. We knew it was going to be like this all the time. They do it on every occasion that doesn't suit them. Most of Canada's premiers are acknowledging that fact. The Toronto Star says it is meaningless. Others say it is useless as long as American lobbyists have control of the US government. (in Canada, 94 percent of our forest lumber production is on public lands. The majority of American lumber is produced from private lands. Those private people don't want competition.)
Does it look like it will improve? Nope. Time to end the agreement altogether? Yep.
In Canada we have whatever the US wants. We should be getting a premium price for it anyway. We should be giving Canadians a break on our own resources and paying for that break by charging others more. Just like a baker gets his family bread for 50 cents and charges everyone else $2. That's just the way it should be.
America is sniffing at our Alberta Tar Sands. There's enough oil there to supply North America for hundreds of years! We need to ensure that whatever we sell anyone else, that Canadians get the benefit.
America wants to build a pipeline from our natural gas resources directly to America. We should forget that and dole out to them what WE think they can have.
We should stop shipping raw logs to the US. Recover our mills and start offering them finished lumber. Why not support Canadian mill workers instead of American mill workers?
We should control our electrical energy resource more carefully. The last time California didn't pay for it when they got into a crunch! THEN they had the nerve to sue us and say we were charging them too much anyway! And they wanted us TO PAY THEM!
Our water resources are huge. The potential is huge. But only with a fair trading partner.
The examples are endless!
These suggestions are not in any way vindictive, but only smart management of our resources. We should have a 'Canada First' policy.
Meanwhile, all those latin countries now negotiating trade agreements with the United States need to take heed of this attitude. It doesn't bode well for them either.
Cancel the Free Trade Agreement. The five years notice needs to begin now. Meanwhile we should take back control of our resource companies and send a blunt message about our sovereignty.

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