Tuesday, August 30, 2005

There’s more than one elephant to sleep with

The softwood lumber dispute has prompted column after column of mundane banter warning us about our close relationship with our biggest trading partner. The “Elephant” we call it. The American consumer that has an appetite for goods that far exceed our own.

Well it’s been several years now and still no resolution to the softwood lumber dispute. When is Canada going to understand that we can’t win this battle? Court ruling after court ruling has said the same thing. It will not matter how many times NAFTA says they broke the rules; nothing will change. We are but a speck on their trading radar. The US taxed Chinese textiles and they will tax our natural resources. Rather than whining to the wind, we should do something more proactive.

Instead of complaining, why don’t we respect the Americans view that our natural resources are subsidized? Let’s say for just a minute that they are right, our vast under populated lands gives us an unfair advantage in producing resources. Well then we should stop dumping all forms of natural resources. Canada should take a proactive role and do the Americans a favour by taxing all natural resource exports.
Oil, gas, electricity, water, and all other forms of energy should be taxed as an especially high rate. These tax revenues need to then go back into the treasury for the natural resource producers less capable of sustaining the increased price and tax burden.

Playing Chicken Little with an Elephant isn’t getting us anywhere.

Secondly, we need to seek out other Elephants. China is recognized as the fastest growing economy and we are barking to the South when we should be looking to the East. Rather than wasting time on removing tariffs that aren’t going anywhere, we should be spending that time establishing trade relations with the Chinese. We need to let the Chinese know that we are willing and able to supply them with all the natural resources they need. We also need to warn them about the implications of trade agreements with the US. They don’t mean anything because there’s nothing you can do to enforce it!

I’m tired listening to news about the softwood lumber dispute. I would be much more interested in hearing how our politicians have worked alternative agreements for the industry instead. There’s more than one elephant to sleep with.


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