March 20, 2006

it's time to suck it up and admit you're wrong (softwood)

I realize I'm a few days behind but I wanted to throw in my two-cents (or after the exchange rate on randomnoisians to CAD: .113 cents). Anyway, the news is that Canada, once again, has won a NAFTA hearing against the US over softwood. And once again, Canada didn't receive a refund cheque from the US.

I'm not sure what problem is really. It is obvious that the NAFTA tribunal isin favour of Canada and will continue to be. Now, I get that repaying $5billion is a lot to ask when you have a debt load in the trillions. I get that having a powerful lobbyist group breathing down your neck can be scary especially when you're not favourable in opnion polls. I also get that winning some WTO rulings can confuse the issue. But seriously, NAFTA is binding by law. And in a country that is governed by law and the country is being run by a guy who thinks the law is everything, then shouldn't you concede defeat?

Let's be realistic here. No one really believes this is an issue of so called subsidies in Canada. It's really an issue of the States trying pad their own industries. However, it has come down to an argument of WTO rulings versus NAFTA rulings. But the WTO argument is extremely weak because it is not binding and the rules are based on general principles of free trade so that they can apply to everyone. NAFTA on the other hand is specific to industry and country and, most important, it is binding by law. For me, this is a no brainer and the constant shuffling and squirming coming from the States has got to end. They've dragged it on for way too long and their options are now more limited than ever. Their excuses and loopholes have also been diminished and to the point that any more delays will only completely expose their lack of justification for continuing to slap duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)