This means that major provincial forestry policy changes have to go through the US for approval.
FROM THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Harper falls in line behind U.S. interests
Wed Sep 6 2006
PRIME Minister Stephen Harper is moving at warp speed to integrate
Canada's security, defence and foreign policies with the U.S. and
shred our competitive advantage over the U.S. in lumber and wheat.
Days before Ottawa bludgeoned Canada's lumber industry into the
deeply flawed softwood lumber agreement, The Vancouver Sun published
the details of a "leaked" letter from the Bush administration to the
U.S. lumber lobby. In it, the American administration confirmed that
its objective was to hobble the Canadian industry for seven years.
Nor does it end there.
Fully $450 million of the $1.3 billion in illegal duties the
Americans will get to keep will grease re-election wheels for
protectionist Republicans facing tough fights in upcoming midterm
congressional elections. Canada's timber industry will thus be forced
to subsidize an ongoing, illicit, attack on itself. All with the
explicit consent of the Canadian government.
There is more. When the industry balked, the Harper government used
intimidation -- a now-familiar tactic of our new prime minister. On
Aug. 4, The Globe and Mail quoted a senior government official
warning that opponents "... should prepare themselves for the
consequences of rejecting it and might want to start contemplating a
world where Ottawa is no longer in the business of subsidizing
The softwood deal is trade managed of, by and for the American lumber
lobby. A supposedly sovereign nation signed on to an unprecedented
clause requiring provinces to first vet any changes in forestry
policy with Washington.
Ignored in all the hype about "how thankful we should be that
Conservatives get along so well with Americans" is this reality.
Canada tossed away a significant victory, won, not before the useless
North American Free Trade Agreement panels, but from the U.S. Court
of International Trade. On April 7, it ruled U.S. duties on Canadian
softwood were illegal.
This is the second time a Conservative government has snatched defeat
from the jaws of victory on the lumber file. (snip)
It's said the beaver bites off its testicles when threatened. If
true, the beaver is certainly an apt symbol, if not for Canada,
certainly for a succession of governments which, when faced with
ceaseless bullying, react by carving off pieces of the nation.