Paul Martin phones George Bush re: Softwood

and says enough is enough, Canada is no longer at the negotiating table… it’s off to US Court we go!

Needless to say.. when I heard this on the CBC this afternoon.. my jaw dropped. What’s this? Canada actually recognizing when Shes right and standing up for herself? Haazaa!

From the CBC and National Post/

In a “cordial but very frank” discussion…

About 15 minutes of the 20-minute phone call focused on the softwood issue and the failure by the U.S. to respect a number of NAFTA rulings in Canada’s favour.

One of those rulings came down in the past in August before Hurricane Katrina hit. It was to an appeal that the US side had launched to an earlier NAFTA decision that sided with Canada. The US lost that appeal but is now saying the NAFTA decision doesn’t matter because the issue is now at the WTO.

This ignores the fact.. however.. that WTO decisions are *not* legally binding (and Canada has also won a number of them as well). NAFTA decisions are, however, supposed to be legally binding.

“”We intend to pursue all opportunities, including going to the courts in the U.S.,” said Martin.”

“Canada has won panel decision after panel decision… Fundamentally, what one might call the final court of appeal under NAFTA has also confirmed the Canadian position. And that should be respected.”

You tell’im PMPM

And here’s the kicker.

“Not respecting NAFTA is not in the interest of Americans, it’s only in the interest of certain specific, domestic groups.”

Damn right! And MORE AMERICANS need to know that because their own government has been actively selling THEM, the American Consumer, out and costing them millions of dollars over the past number of years!

I will be very interested to follow the court proceedings. I suspect they will go the same as another trade dispute which moved today… the Cattle Industry… a court in Montana that was hearing an appeal by the “R-Calf” to close the border to “dangerous” Canadian cattle was rejected today. The R-CALF group will appeal the decision to a lower court.. but the same result can be expected.

While I may rail against the American government… at least their judicial system seems to have more than a clue!

So… what if this all ends up going South (pun intended) anyway? What if Canada ends up losing… or stuck in the courts in perpetuity?

Well… then we’ll have to find new markets for our products… and that process is already well underway. While the cattle industry in Canada was blocked from the US market, they sought out new markets successfully.. and by the time the border finally did reopen, the Canada industry had already adapted.. already found new places and new methods to keep the industry going. With an American government that currently seems so anti-Free Trade that is a very wise move.

And it’s happening with Softwood Lumber and Energy too. Where’s the Market? Well China of course (see Page 2 of the story above as well).

China’s growing appetite for oil, which will see it battle the United States and other trading partners for investment opportunities in the Canadian oilsands, will boost profits in numerous ways, analysts said Friday. The comments came after Natural Resources Minister John McCallum met with the presidents of China National Petroleum Corp. and CNOOC Ltd. in China this week, as Ottawa has been making it clear to the United States that it will increasingly look to China to sell its oil if the softwood lumber dispute is not resolved.

because pipeline projects take years to build, it will be four to six years before Canada has the capacity for large scale oil shipments from ports on the B.C. west coast, he said.

“So for the next few years, the oil produced in Canada will continue to be roughly 50 per cent consumed in Canada and 50 per cent in the United States.”

Learn something new everyday! 50% of Canadian oil goes South.. 50%!

Today it was announced that the 400,000b/day oil pipeline will end at Kitimat B.C. This is great news for a very small town… though very bad news for the major Northern BC port city of Prince Rupert… however, if things keep on going the way they are then we can expect other pipelines to head West and no doubt Prince Rupert will get part of that action.

Here’s a Map of the area

All in all.. a good day for Canadian trade…. and Paul Martins new found backbone.. which seems to have a curve to the East.