Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Rotten Smell from Little Stevie's Ass, David Emerson

This week the Harper government capitulated and signed a softwood lumber deal with the U.S. We bought two years of protection from American trade bludgeoning. Oh yeah, we bought it all right. We let the Americans keep $1-billion (U.S.) out of the illegal tarrifs they imposed on Canadian softwood lumber exports. They got a 20% cut. How many banks would you rob if you knew that, at the end of the day, the police would cut you a deal and let you walk off, free as a bird, with 20% of your take?

It's a rotten deal. Two years from now the same group of American lumber producers will start the legal harassment all over again. Only this time they'll have a half-billion dollars of donations illegally harvested from Canadian lumber producers to fund their war chest. That's right, the Americans are withholding a billion dollars from our lumber companies and giving half of that to the same lobby group that beset our industry with an endless string of frivolous and vexatious litigation. Hmm, I wonder what they're going to do with all that money when the gloves come off again in just two years?

Two months ago, Harper faced an insurrection from major lumber companies and their provincial governments. They knew this deal was rotten to the core. They knew we were being extorted. Harper, however, started twisting arms until, one by one, the opposition collapsed.

Except that it didn't collapse entirely. Some lumber companies held out, stuck to the obvious principles of this mess. That didn't stop the feds from signing the deal anyway. It aso didn't stop the Harper government from setting out to make the principled companies pay for their insubordination.

The Harper government has announced that that it will levy a 19% tax on those companies that didn't knuckle under to this chicanery. In other words those companies that insist on fighting to get back the money unlawfully taken from them will, at the end of the day, have it all taxed away by our own Conservative government. After all, if everyone else is paying the 20% extortion, why should we let these holdouts refuse?

It that smells rotten, it's because it is rotten. Of course, David Emerson had no qualms about selling out his own constituents. Why would the lumber companies expect better?

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