It was with some pleasure that I learned on Friday 31st August Canada had not succumbed to the bombastic, belligerent President of the USA and agreed in haste to the bilateral agreement between Mexico and the US. IT is not clear to me that a bilateral agreement between the USA and Mexico within the borders of NAFTA is entirely legal, not that that would worry President Trump at all. The fact that he would play one country against another has a familiar ring of a reality show to it and really has no place in the real world where actual peoples’ lives and wellbeing are the stakes. Typical of him I think.
The complaint is that Canada has not treated the US in a fair way due to softwood lumber and our supply management system. From my reading and understanding of NAFTA there should be no tariffs between the three countries and of course, we already know that this has been broken not only in the case of the softwood lumber but also in the steel and aluminium trade. Clearly, this man has no idea what an agreement is and perhaps that is why I hear so often that he has defaulted on more business contracts than he has fulfilled.
While the USA complains that our softwood lumber is subsidized by some form of stumpage, let us also remember that the agricultural sector of the USA is heavily subsidized by their Federal government. It seems that there is an equal amount of wrongdoing here and the pot is calling the kettle black. Concerning the supply management system, this could be amended perhaps provided that the products coming into Canada meet with Health Canada and our agriculture standards. Health Canada, of course, will bend over backwards to the US on most issues and really needs to grow a backbone and remember that the health of the Canadian people is their priority not the health of American corporations. For the dairy sector, it still amazes me that we are the only species on earth to drink the milk of another species and expect after it has been treated and reduced in any beneficial way that it is good for us. Cows eat grass – we do not. Cows’ milk is basically a bovine growth hormone designed by the creator to make calves grow faster. Some small wonder then that we have too much obesity in our population. There are alternatives available such as hemp milk, coconut milk and for a while before it became GMO contaminated soy milk etc., and yet these are largely ignored because the dairy lobby is too powerful and like most corporate ventures is interested in protecting their toxic products and the profits derived from them. Real milk is, of course, illegal and those who produce it are prosecuted, while those selling pasteurized and then artificially fortified again stuff are protected. Makes no sense to me. When I was young we were drinking real milk with cream still within it and my immune system is fine thanks.
As for the lumber, we should not be exporting any lumber which is hit by a tariff and indeed here we can and should be exporting to other markets. We send a vast amount of raw logs overseas when we should be sending finished lumber instead. A byproduct of this would be the return of sawmills and employment that go with them. If we stopped sending lumber to the states how long would it be before their construction business came to a huge slowdown? The idea is not to hurt the ordinary American but to send the message that a product is sold at a certain price and if that is not agreed upon then it will not be sold. The basic rule of commerce – there must be a market and a buyer who is willing to pay the price asked for that product.
There were many things built into the original FTA and then accepted into NAFTA that were not good for Canada, and yet Trump in his self-righteousness forgets that we cannot reduce the percentage of any petroleum products we produce and send to the US even if we run short ourselves, nor can we increase the price of electricity across the border without both our PM and the US president agreeing to such a price increase. This means that BC is exporting hydropower to the seven western states at the same price which was in effect when WAC Bennet was premier of BC prior to the FTA came into being. Now, who do those two alone benefit? Certainly not Canadians.
Article 605: Other Export Measures
Subject to Annex 605, a Party may adopt or maintain a restriction otherwise justified under Articles XI:2(a) or XX(g), (i) or (j) of the GATT with respect to the export of an energy or basic petrochemical good to the territory of another Party, only if:
- a) the restriction does not reduce the proportion of the total export shipments of the specific energy or basic petrochemical good made available to that other Party relative to the total supply of that good of the Party maintaining the restriction as compared to the proportion prevailing in the most recent 36month period for which data are available prior to the imposition of the measure, or in such other representative period on which the Parties may agree;
The Americans want to do away with the dispute mechanism and so does any Canadian who is tired of paying huge sums of their tax dollars to America corporations which see perceived profits lost because of our environment or health standard laws. This also includes Canadian companies which incorporate in Delaware because it is cheaper and gives them access to the dispute review panel – Lone Pine Power of Calgary is a perfect example of that to the tune of $250 million. There is never an amount allotted in any budget for these tribunal awards probably because all governments want to hide them. This government wants to keep on paying them it appears.
It has been my contention that ALL corporations with Canadian subsidiaries doing business in Canada, such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi or MacDonald’s, should have accounts in Canadian banks in Canada and pay taxes on their gross income before their profits are sent to the US or the Cayman Islands. Also, Nestles should not be allowed to draw as much water as they can from Hope Lake without charge and bottle it and send it south of the border in plastic bottles for profit. Arrowhead water for Walmart. How did that come about anyway? Is it part of NAFTA that we should give away our water for free and have it sold for profit elsewhere?
America’s problems do not stem from NAFTA but from their inability to control their corporations allowing them to set up manufacturing in countries where the labour costs are cheap and bringing those cheaper products back to the homeland. The constant demand for profit for their shareholders and the need to pay obscene bonuses to their CEOs etc. demand that they cheat as much as they can and they do. That is not a NAFTA problem it is an American corporate greed problem.
Now I hear that that man is tweeting again that Canada is an enemy of the US and it would appear that we are a greater threat to the US than Mexico, China, Russia and Korea combined. If this is the way you treat a friend then I do not want to be a friend to his administration and their twitter diplomacy. It frankly stinks of the president’s bigotry, racial and religious hatred combined with the love of an apartheid State of Israel and a grandiose assumption that he can do no wrong and everyone else is at fault. What a way to rule a country.
Do we really think that those Americans without a job, without a roof over their heads and no money for food for themselves or their family think he, a fat cat with no shortage of wealth, pomp and grandiosity is serving them well?
Bring on the peaceful revolution.
Cancel NAFTA too.
Give him his wish and let’s charge what we need for our products.
Now I learn that this egotistical, racist, bigot is telling Canadians what is and is not of political importance to us. Perhaps he should spend more time looking in the mirror instead of pouting at the cameras. His efforts to create strife amongst his allies could just cause us to tell him where to go unless of course, the apartheid State of Israel tells us not to !!!!!