Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wow, now that's what I call timing...

I didn't hear anything about this decision coming up, and considering recent events here at home you would have thought it was eagerly anticipated. Nonetheless, the U.S. Court of International Trade has decided in favour of the Canadian Softwood Lumber Industry.

I just read about this over at Grit Patriot

I find it amazing that the Conservatives are determined to move ahead, citing that they think their "deal in hand" is better:

"We are still moving strongly ahead with this (agreement)," said Robert Klager, director of communications in Emerson's office. "As far as changing anything, I am sure there will be a lot of commentary about it. But the government is still confident that the agreement we have reached guarantees money back into the hands of the industry and it brings the stability that years of litigation simply haven't."
Gordon Hamilton, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Conservatives have publicly stated that they won't let the Canadian Lumber Industry have a say in the matter, and it won't be re-negotiated; well, it appears that isn't necessarily true either...

Coleman [B.C. Forests Minister Rich Coleman] said despite Ottawa's insistence that the July 1 softwood deal is final, discrete talks are taking place with U.S. counterparts to reach an accommodation that would bring provincial governments and the industry on board. The Canadian industry is preparing a pan-Canadian package to present to the U.S. lumber industry and Coleman said he has been in direct talks with U.S. officials himself.
Gordon Hamilton, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, July 22, 2006

The downside of this is that this court decision doesn't get back all of the money:

On the basis of the decision, the group representing British Columbia lumber interests says that the Canadian lumber industry should get back $1.2-billion (U.S.), or roughly 26 per cent of the $4.6-billion in duties it has paid out since May, 2002.
From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Thus the Tories have the spin built into the story, and a spin that unfortunately backs up their claim that their $4 Billion version of capitulation is better than nothing.

I find it amazing that the Tories could so flagrantly give up the legal recourse we have under the NAFTA agreement for a temporary deal.

Question: Under the Conservative agreement, are they paying us back in Canadian or US dollars? I know this sounds silly for a deal of this magnitude, but could it be relevant? The money lost in Canadian dollars is worth more now that it was when it was taken (illegally), while the equivalent in US dollars is worth less.

h/t to Cherniak_wtf for the links

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