Thursday, July 27, 2006

Taking matters into their own hands

While the Cons are busy whining about how nobody could possibly get a better softwood lumber deal than they did, Canadian producers are actually talking to their American counterparts...and may well be making progress in improving the deal:
Canada's lumber industry is talking to its American counterpart and to provincial governments about amending the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement, despite federal insistence that negotiations are over, sources say.

The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, the influential industry lobby behind punitive tariffs on Canadian lumber, this week categorically denied that it or its members were discussing changes to the softwood deal initialled July 1.

But Canadian industry sources told The Canadian Press on Thursday that informal contacts did take place between individual lumber executives on both sides of the border.

The industry now is trying to compile a single list by the end of next week of proposed modifications to the complex agreement, then get governments from the producing provinces to approach Ottawa with it.
Which means that the largest holdup for now may not be unwillingness on the part of U.S. actors to improve the deal at least somewhat, but instead...
However, the sources admit the plan has a very limited chance at success in what's become a high-stakes standoff with the Conservative government staking its political future on the outcome.
In other words, Harper appears to be standing all the more strongly against Canada solely for his own political benefit. And with Canada's PM so determined to ignore both positive court rulings and the possibility of a better deal than his government could negotiate, there's all the less reason to take the Cons seriously when they claim to have Canada's best interests at heart.

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