Friday, August 12, 2005

You want to screw with NAFTA? OK, let's screw with NAFTA.

If the Canadian government really wants to play hardball with the U.S. in terms of the softwood lumber dispute, forget about slapping sanctions on incoming goods. Instead, why not look at what Canada is currently exporting to the U.S. under NAFTA that the U.S. really, really wants. And cut them off.

Speaking from the position of someone who has done minimal research, what about water? Is water currently covered under NAFTA? Are we shipping it south? And, if so, why not just turn off the tap for a while?

I'm hoping those far more in the know can comment on this. Take it away ...


Anonymous said...

Water I think isn't covered (or not in detail) and this was a mistake because eventually it will be our greatest export and if we don't set up a sales system now the U.S. may one day decide to just come up and take it rather than start paying.

CC said...

This is precisely what I want more information on. Do we have any NAFTA experts in the crowd?

Fungineer said...

that'll hit them hard. turn of the taps on that in the midst of world supply problems. we should keep it all to ourselves!
I fear if we did that they'd invade and ocupy Alberta to free it from the rest of Canada.

Cori said...

Wood. homebuilding is one of the main things propping up the economy down here, and if lumber prices skyrocketed, it would make the whole thing collapse. (of course, it's about to slow waaay down right now.)

canola might be another good one.

Lt. Dan said...

Well...would it be entirely bad for them to occupy Alberta? ;)

Anonymous said...

And how, exactly do we deny the US the lumber, water, canola, and other things without crippling our own economy in the process?

It's called trade 'cause people get stuff in return.

The situation is so frustrating because, in the real world, you have to deal with real people and cannot take unilateral action (unless you're the biggest bully on the block, and even then, you can't do it forever).

CC said...

"And how, exactly do we deny the US the lumber, water, canola, and other things without crippling our own economy in the process?"

And therein lies the heart of the problem. If Canada's economy is so utterly dependent on the United States that we have no leverage whatsoever, then we are well and truly fucked.

The only way to force the U.S. to abide by NAFTA (or any other agreement) appears to be a little arm-twisting.

If Canada has nothing with which to twist arms, well, see above. Fucked.

Lindsay Stewart said...

this has come up on a few blogs and while i am no expert on the intricate workings of getting boned by uncle sam, i do know that we supply more petroleum to the usa than any other country. i also know that there are plenty of other nations that are very interested in a ready and steady supply of same. say china for instance. now most of the oil patch is run by us owned corporations. so we would need to enact legislation strictly limiting foreign ownership of our resources. as far as being covered by nafta, well my simian understanding of contract law would indicate that a contract is a deal between two or more parties and that it requires mutual consideration and good faith. it seems to me that america is in serial breach of the contract, which nullifies it. it is a fact that the majority of canadian trade takes place with the usa, but that doesn't mean we can't replace their trade with other partners. it just means we would habe to be more creative, look furhter afield and work harder.

american factory farming and massive irrigation has depleted the grat midwestern aquifer, they will be jonesing for fresh water in a big way soon. with the perilous siuation and mighty cluster fuckery they've created in the mideast, their oil pumps will be getting thirsty. these two items alone give us tremendous leverage. all we need is the will to act and (if you'll excuse me) stay the course. it is time we changed the status quo. imagine the reaction of the world if america tried to invade poor, polite and beloved canada to feed its rapacious car fetish. we aren't screwed unless we allow ourselves to be screwed.

DazzlinDino said...

I'm with Dave, call China and inform them of our sudden overabundance of oil and ask if they can help.....

Anonymous said...

Most water is covered by seperate treaties

Most have already been signed over to the US lock stock and barrel. In the Columbia Basin, when the US says to open up the dams, we have to. (To keep their man made lake full of water for tourists, doesn't matter if the river is at the lowest levels ever seen).

For all intensive purposes, they already own the water here.

RossK said...

Heard Mike Duffy on Rafe Mair this morning blaming this all on folks like Carolyn Parrish and anyone who has pissed-off the elephant.

But as so many have said here, so what?

And besides, if we stop shipping wood, oil, gas or water it's not like it's going to be worth less six months or even six years from now.

Anonymous said...

Over 80% of our exports are to US but under 30% of US imports are from Canada. The market in US is not built around one single country or region, not even oil. Us gets its supply from Canada, Middle east, South America and even Africa. Such disputes can be resolved only by working with them, not against them.

Anonymous said...

We've already been given the green light for countervailing duties. Those duties should immediately be levied.

The question is not "what else do we trade to the US"... the question should be "what does the US send to us, that we can levy, to make up that difference?"

The further question is "What can we tax to maximally embarass Bush and damage the US economy, to smarten them the hell up?"

Look to europe and the issue of steel for a prime example.

Anonymous said...

Just my 2 cents worth:

How about Hydro Electricity? Right now BC sells lots to USA. BC could start to sell it to Ontario thus helping with Ontario's Electricity crisis. I think that may make USA rethink their NAFTA position. Since BC is being harmed the most by the Softwood trade problem, this would be sweet justice for us, ha ha.

I agree that there are lots of other countries that will be interested in our oil. I don't think we will suffer at all if we dont trade our oil to the USA.

Anonymous said...

BC Hydro cannot. Like everything else the province had, it has been sold.

A private Bermuda-based company, Accenture, took over all the major services activities of BC Hydro on April 1, 2003. These involve customer services, financial services, human resources, information technology and procurement services. It was a change that cost BC Hydro $60 million and one-third of its workforce. Because Accenture is a private corporation, the details of the transaction are not public, and at no point was a business case made to the public regarding the need for this change.

The transmission system of BC Hydro (the large system of wires taking electricity from the dams to distribution systems) will be severed from BC Hydro and become a completely separate private legal entity. This is the first step toward the turnover of transmission to a US entity known as Regional Transmission Organization West (RTO West). RTO West will completely control the transmission system, including making decisions about who has access to the transmission lines, what prices will be paid for this access, and what future investments will be made to the system. British Columbia will continue to own the wires, but its function will be restricted to collecting rents from those who use the wires. The main point of severing the transmission system from BC Hydro is to encourage private electricity production for export.

BC Hydro will no longer plan the future electricity supply needs of the province. Rather, new electrical generation facilities will be the preserve of the private sector, with BC Hydro confined to upgrading existing facilities. This means that BC Hydro will not be able to initiate new investments in new gas, hydro, wind, or solar facilities.

The government’s promise to keep BC Hydro in the public sector is being kept only in the most literal sense. What remains of BC Hydro will be in the public sector, but the corporation itself will be near lifeless. The business of electricity in BC is being rapidly privatized, with a shift in focus away from meeting the needs of the people of this province and toward meeting the needs of private power producers.

These changes are radical, and under international trade agreements they will be binding. Yet they are occurring without public debate and without a clear mandate from the public. Because they are so serious and irreversible, they deserve much more public scrutiny.

West Kootenay Power, another large utility serving the lower potion on British Columbia was sold to UtilCorp which is an American owned company. (Aquila - based out of Kansas City) BC has nothing left for leverage anymore.

CC said...

To "Anonymous" above:

Can I repost your comment as a main posting?