Troubling news on the softwood lumber front. You remember that fantastic deal Steve Harper got us by giving away over $1 billion in illegally collected tariffs to the Americans? Apparently, he did as good a job of “fixing” that one as he did ending the long, tired era of federal/provincial bickering:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The
United Statesasked for binding arbitration against on Wednesday in the latest flare-up of a two-decade-long dispute over softwood lumber. Canada
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said the
United States"has no choice but to initiate arbitration proceedings to compel Canadato live up to its SLA(Softwood Lumber Agreement) obligations."
The agreement, reached last fall, was intended to end years of wrangling over
Canada's shipment of softwood lumber to buyers. It also allows binding arbitration under the rules of the U.S. Court of International Arbitration, a commercial mediation body. London
The Liberal Party’s international trade critic, Navdeep Bains, weighs-in:
"The Conservatives have repeatedly said that the softwood lumber deal was better than litigation," said Mr. Bains. "Yet we now hear that the
U.S.is taking to court." Canada
"Thanks to a bad deal that left $500 million in the hands of the American lumber industry to fund legal and political attacks against the Canadian industry we are facing a situation where Canada's ability to assist its forestry sector could be curtailed by a court in London with no possibility to appeal the decision," said Mr. Bains.
"It is now time for the Conservatives to admit what the Liberal Party has been saying since the deal was first announced last year: that their deal is flawed and that it has solved nothing," said Mr. Bains.
No wonder Harper strategists were planning on a spring election. His carefully doctored image as a straight-shooter that gets results is collapsing like a house of cards, along with CPC polling numbers.
From the start, Harper’s softwood strategy was more about politics, showing we could get a deal, any deal, when the Liberals couldn’t, then it was about getting a good deal for Canadian industry. He and David Emerson (remember him?) signed a bad deal that gave away a over billion dollars in illegally collected tariffs and had to bully and browbeat the industry to drop their legal challenges.
Some value-added manufacturers even saw the
And now here we are again, back in court with the
Bravo, Mr. Harper. Bravo.
P.S. For a quick and informative softwood primer, Rick Mercer has Everything you've always wanted to know about softwood, but were afraid to ask.