Sunday, February 21, 2010

Americans Have Now Added a New National Holiday

The Buy America/Sell Canada Agreement went into affect on February 16, and not since the Louisiana Purchase have the Americans gotten such a good deal.

And all of this was done without input or debate.

When Stephen Harper stood up in front of the Council for National Policy and told them how much he hated Canada, they must have started drooling.

No wonder James Dobson, one of the founders, put so much money into Harper's 2006 election campaign. He knew it would pay enormous dividends.

He [Harper] called the Reform Party a “conservative Republican” organization that espoused “a constitutional agenda that challenges the way our entire political system operates.” Most revealingly, Mr. Harper shared his view that the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties would ultimately merge and “one party is going to win out….And Reform is not going to lose that contest in the long term.

The trade agreement that gives absolutely nothing to Canada but a huge boost to the United States runs to 2011, but according to Maude Barlow, there are other things in this agreement that need close scrutiny, especially when it comes to health care.

And as Scott Sinclair puts it: Canada gives away the store in return for scraps from U.S

Government ministers have avoided saying just how much the recent deal on Buy American preferences, whose implementation was announced at a quiet news conference in Vancouver this week, is worth to Canadian suppliers. As the details of the agreement emerge, the reasons for this evasiveness are now clear. ... In return for these meagre scraps, the provinces and municipalities have offered up temporary market access to U.S. suppliers worth an estimated $25 billion Canadian). More ominously, Canada has bowed to U.S. pressure to permanently bind purchasing by Canadian provincial governments under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (the GPA).

But while these popular programs are not immediately threatened, provinces and municipalities are now on a slippery slope. Further negotiations with the U.S. and the European Union will certainly mean more concessions and further restrictions on the use of public purchasing for local development.

When they signed up to Ottawa's negotiations last summer, the provinces were promised a meaningful exemption from U.S. Buy American laws. They didn't get one. Through sleight of hand, and with Ottawa's acquiescence, Washington managed to pocket the provincial governments' offers on the table, while leaving its Buy American preferences almost fully intact.

The unseemly haste with which this deal was approved is also problematic.
The agreement warranted parliamentary scrutiny ... Thee federal opposition parties have raised legitimate concerns. But with Parliament prorogued, there was no proper debate .... If democracy had been allowed to run its course, Canadians would likely have rejected this unfair and detrimental deal.

So every February 16, the Americans will be celebrating 'Canada on a Silver Platter Day' . And in the meantime, we will also be adding another national holiday to our calendar. The date has yet to be determined but it will be 'We're finally rid of Stephen Harper Day'. I'm already blowing up balloons.

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