Goodbye NAFTA
August 31, 2006 1:38 PM   Subscribe

A slush fund for Bush, courtesy of Canada? The proposed softwood lumber deal, which would end the longstanding dispute over Canadian exports to the US, is being criticised for giving the White House $450 million, to be spent without congressional oversight.
posted by [expletive deleted] (36 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There is no way this passes up here. Every other party has expressed their plan to vote against it.

To top it off, Harper is making this a confidence vote. Basically, he'll call an election if it's defeated. I can't see what he thinks he will gain out of this?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:52 PM on August 31, 2006

Getting to be the underdog, perhaps? "Those Liberals and New Democrats don't understand what's important for Canada! They're so fixated on gaining power that they brought down the Prime Minister!"

posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:57 PM on August 31, 2006

Personally, I despise both the American and Canadian positions on this issue. I find it disgusting that the US feels it can completely ignore NAFTA panel rulings, which, considering American history in honoring treaty obligations is hardly surprising.

Canadians, on the other hand, are completely unwilling to even examine the forestry practices that US industry objects to. We aren't even asking if these practices are in our best interests. Frankly, I don't see how turning BC into a patchwork of clearcuts is in the best interest of the public, and if we are going to do this, why is it being done on public land without fair compensation to the public, who you know, own said land.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:01 PM on August 31, 2006

Winnipeg, the Bloc is unlikely to vote against it. The Quebec forest industry strongly supports the deal.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:02 PM on August 31, 2006

It appears to all come down to the Bloc.
posted by caddis at 2:06 PM on August 31, 2006

The Bloc has already said that the honeymoon is over, however. Personally, I think the whole idea of passing half a billion dollars directly to the Whitehouse sucks out loud, but then again, it's Harper.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 2:14 PM on August 31, 2006

For those interested, Feldman's full comments at the Select Trade Committee are here. He pointed out that the $500 million awarded to the Committee for Fail Lumber Imports will serve as an incentive to drop this deal as soon as they can (18 months). The $450 million that goes to the White House will reward a protectionist administration. The Bloc may or may not oppose this deal. The problem is, Harper says if the deal doesn't pass, he will not support any further judicial action -- that is what has frightened industry into reluctant compliance. After four years, Canada is only two decisions away from victory, too.
posted by CCBC at 2:15 PM on August 31, 2006

Want some wood?
posted by dersins at 2:17 PM on August 31, 2006

This is bad, in so many ways. I imagine this (the possibility of the cash going to the White House) isn't a big news item in the States?
posted by Bearman at 2:21 PM on August 31, 2006

Harper says if the deal doesn't pass, he will not support any further judicial action

Now that it's a confidence matter, if the deal doesn't pass Harper will no longer be PM. His threats to the industry mean nothing if the next government plans to fight for 100% of what's owed.
posted by rocket88 at 2:34 PM on August 31, 2006

450 million? That's *beer money* for the Republicans. They'll blow through that in about 15 seconds.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:50 PM on August 31, 2006

Actually, The entire Republican campaign war chest is less than $300 million. Canada will add to it by 150 per cent in funds to be expended for "meritorious initiatives."

If the Bloc aren't completely insane this will be enough to get them to vote down Harper's government. Unfortunately for us, that's probably just going to result in a more powerful Harper government. Making this a confidence motion was a very smart move.
posted by mek at 2:53 PM on August 31, 2006

450 million? That's *beer money* for the Republicans. They'll blow through that in about 15 seconds.

Yeah, that's a day and a half in Iraq in'it?
posted by Bearman at 2:56 PM on August 31, 2006

Except it wouldn't being going to Iraq, but to projects of the President's choosing, such as propping up an industry in the district of a Republican lawmaker facing a tough race.
posted by caddis at 3:02 PM on August 31, 2006

Amid criticism that the money could be used for political purposes, the United States is to announce tomorrow a list of projects to be funded by $450 million (U.S.) collected in tariffs from Canadian lumber producers. link

So they will be making the Sept 1 list public, but it's not really clear how binding this is, if at all. We'd never know, since there's no oversight...
posted by mek at 3:13 PM on August 31, 2006

I can't see what he thinks he will gain out of this?

If he wins, he wins. If he loses, and the government falls, he'll catch the Grits with their pants down, because they'll have to rush to choose a leader by the time the (still hypothetical) election occurs.
posted by oaf at 3:14 PM on August 31, 2006

Fucking Harper.
posted by furtive at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2006

If he wins, we lose. If he loses, we lose.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:20 PM on August 31, 2006

"I own a lumber company?"
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:22 PM on August 31, 2006

It'll all be spent on hookers and gin.
posted by Balisong at 3:52 PM on August 31, 2006

Want some wood?

Come visit my lumber company and I'll give you some wood.

posted by spiderwire at 4:17 PM on August 31, 2006

[e.d.], what is this "congressional oversight" you mention? It sounds intriguing, if a bit farfetched.
posted by rob511 at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2006

I heard someone famous say you could buy wood on the internets!

Seriously though, if Harper comes out of this with a majority government, I'll be looking for somewhere else to live. I may not be able to help my country going to sh*t, but I'll be damned if I'll stick around and finance that transformation through taxes (non-resident Canadians do not pay Canadian taxes).
posted by clevershark at 4:26 PM on August 31, 2006

I can't wait until Bob Rae sorts all this out.
posted by Flashman at 4:36 PM on August 31, 2006

If this goes to vote, I'll be voting — and encouraging everyone else — to vote for anyone but a Conservative. Myself, I'll vote for whichever candidate seems to have a brain and a sense of social responsibility.

Giving $500M to Bush to spend howsoever he wants is just insane. Fucker will use it to help advance his clan toward their goal of becoming Kings of the World.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on August 31, 2006

God damn it! Just when I was thinking that our country was doing ok Harper pulls this shit. Nobody wants another federal election so soon, and Harper seems to be using that against us, bastard.
posted by Vindaloo at 8:25 PM on August 31, 2006

That's another thing I'll put to people: assholes who twice over hold our governance structure hostage are assholes who are going to get punished. We are supposed to have a system of government through which reasonable wo/men can co-operatively steer this country's society, culture, environment, economics, and resources toward the best common good.

Or so I wish. Maybe I'm still too idealistic.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 PM on August 31, 2006


[what would michael ignatieff do?]
posted by SSinVan at 11:01 PM on August 31, 2006

You know what, not only is this softwood deal bullshit for Canada, I look forward to Harper making a fool out of himself for trying to push it through.
posted by blacklite at 11:26 PM on August 31, 2006


From what I've seen on MeFi, not get elected is what he'd do. All it would take would be a whole bunch of ads pointing out that he's lived in America for most of the past several decades, and the Liberals will lose support. That would probably mean Conservative wins rather than NDP, unless the electorate is pissed off at Harper for calling a needless snap election so soon.
posted by oaf at 3:00 AM on September 1, 2006

I'm not sure how it is out east, but here in North Texas our main man Harper is just short of super heroic. I'm sure that if another election were called we'd just hoot'n'holler and fire our guns in the air as we do our victory dance towards a majority government.

/ not a fan of the smiling sleazebag
// reminds me of Brian Mulroney
/// puppet of big money, non-Canadian interests
posted by C.Batt at 8:32 AM on September 1, 2006

Ignatieff creeps me out as much as Harper. Well, almost as much. In all honesty, I think it's his name. I always imagine Boris and Natasha. I know, it's embarassing.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:36 AM on September 1, 2006

As the polls stand now Harper would not get a majority, unless of course, the opposition self-destructs. In all likelihood, an election today would not alter the makeup of parliament. This, even as the Liberals are leaderless.

I think an early election would hurt the Cons more than any other party, especially if Canadians see it as cynical push for a majority.
posted by btwillig at 10:44 AM on September 1, 2006

Motherfuck! I should have been paying more attention, I can't believe this.

Two funny things about this whole softwood dispute:
1) the people being negatively impacted in the US by the tarriffs (home builders) haven't been crying too loud because of the bubble, that's going to start changing.
2) Many BC mills have been seeking Asian markets and upgrading equipment and processess to handle metric sizes because of the uncertianty and unfair dealing in the US market. This means that not only are we less tied to the US market but also that when housing starts crash in the US we'll be more competitive than US timber companies overseas. Long term it's a big ol' win all around for Canada.
posted by Mitheral at 12:21 PM on September 1, 2006

In my opinion, one of our top economic goals in this country should be to seek new foreign markets for all our resources and products. We are far too closely tied to the US's succcess.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:25 PM on September 1, 2006

From the doubled thread:

illiad writes: What're we in Canada going to do? The U.S. is famous for being dickheaded about cross-border trade agreements, and the most we can do north of the 49th is wring our hands and tell jokes about our neighbours.

It's a sick situation, but unless there's some way we can strongarm the US government into Being Fair instead of serving as sockpuppets for US industry, it's always going to be like this.

Trade war is the only option and unfortunately it is kind of a nuclear one. But if BC and Quebec were serious about enforcing these rulings they'd turn off the hydro (or at least draw it down a bit). A few hours of brown outs on both coasts would wake up the Americans. Now is the perfect time, not so hot or cold in most places that A/C or heat is needed.
posted by Mitheral at 12:21 PM on September 12, 2006

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