Thanks for the GRATITUDE, neighbor!

Sorry, but I’m sorta peeved at our (normally) great friends and neighbors, The United States. Up here in BC Canada, an awful lot of us still make our living by logging. My Dad was connected to the industry and so was Mr zoogirl’s Dad. Quite a lot of our wood has traditionally been sent south. Now the USA has decided to impose a softwood tariff on all wood entering the States. This will add more than ten percent to the cost of shipping and has effectively put a number of local companies right out of business-just in time for Christmas. We’re facing layoffs of thirty-five hundred workers, just in this area.
Now considering the support we’ve shown over the whole Sept. 11 affair, this comes as quite a kick in the teeth. I know BC alone has sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to New York, not to mention blood, personel and support. My own church sent in a letter signed by darn near the whole lot of us. Our local Safeway still has a collection going for the victims.
I can’t help but feel a little like we stuck out our hands and got them spat on.

John Ralston Saul, Reflections of a Siamese Twin

Nothing to be sorry about, zoogirl, I’m just as confused down here in the states. The folks who claim to be for free trade have suddenly imposed an additional timber tariff on Canada, ostensibly to help U.S. businesses:

Apparently, Canada has the supply, we have the demand, and that’s unfairaccording to Lumber Companies.

::CyberHippy valiantly fights off the Demon of Cynicism::

:: Demon has CH by the balls::

So, like, is there anyone in politics today who actually means what they say?

I really like this part of the article:

I mean, I’m no fan of the WTO, but it may just tickle me a bit to see Ashcroft defend tariffs in THAT court!

::insomnia still in charge, CH wanders into thomas.loc.gov::

Hmmm… lookie here, it’s HR2149, introduced by a pile of Republicans, which includes:

Does one hand know what the other is doing anymore???

I remember hearing about this a while back, and at the time it seemed reasonable enough…Something to do with a flooded market in America, and the environmentalists from both countries saying logging was destroying the environment(Ever tried using plastic toilet paper? hmmm)…Perhaps someone who is current can explain further.

At any rate, had a couple of Canadian office buildings been struck by hijacked airliners, I am quite sure that the US response would have been large, and still continuing, so your comments about Sept. 11 do not hold water.

The US and Canada have always had a give and take relationship. While I don’t have my scorecard handy, I will go out on a limb and say it is probably pretty balanced. Regrettably, while one industry may be hurt, another may prosper. So please don’t start hating the US because one policy hit close to home.

For more info: http://www.ems.org/softwood_lumber_agreement/questions_and_answers.html


~“No one is allowed to be so proud
They never reach out
When they’re giving up.”
-Better Than Ezra

If I’m not mistaken, this move came at the behest of environmenalists and domestic logging firms.

I oppose it. I am no fan of protectionist policies, as a general rule, and I do not agree with the environmentalists that we should stop logging.

  • Rick

What do the events of September 11 have to do with anything? Are you suggesting that Canada is deserving of favorable treatment because it sent money and blood? By that logic, since the United States has sent more money to other countries in the form of foreign aid than anyone, the US should be able to do whatever it wants. Oh wait, the US is doing whatever it wants, and you’re getting cheesed off about it.

Feel free to argue against protectionism and unfair trade barriers all you want, and it’s quite possible I’ll be there griping along with you. But please, claiming that you’re owed something because you signed a letter at church and sent along some blood and blankets with it? Nonsense. Donations are gifts, and if you made them with strings attached, shame on you.

**otto:**Amen.


~SO I GET DRUNK AND STONED,
EVERY TIME YOU COME AROUND. -Better Than Ezra

It has nothing to do with either 9/11 or environmentalists.

The differences over the timber industry have been ongoing for decades. Tariff fights have been common. The pattern is that the USA timber industry complains that the Canadian industry is improperly subsidized because it operates on public land without high enough stumpage fees. High tariffs are put in place. Canada takes it to adjudication and wins. The high tariffs are removed. Things stay quiet for a while before heating up again. Its cyclical.

One thing I wonder about is this: Do the US refund the Tariffs they collected? Even if they do, some of the smaller companies go bankrupt and jobs are lost. I have nothing but respect for the American people, but the attitude of the American Government is that of a bully. I don’t believe that this is waht Free Trade was supposed to be.

Here’s a basic link on the issue from the Canadian perspective.

Not meaning to take this away from this idea, but the US does this in many industries. Australia is a large commodity exporter, one of the major markets being the US. Australia spent a lot of time developing a market for lamb in the US, and when demand started to pick up a large tariff was stuck on lamb at the behest of teh American cottage market. Also the subsidies going on sugar and wheat are not helping us trade with America.

It is the American farmers who lobby for these tariffs and subsidies. The large supermarkets or suppliers try to keep the price as low as possible for teh consumer and while doing so suppress the market price for the raw commodities. So any farmers who try to get a fair price for thier product (ie one which wouldn’t require subsidies) gets undercut by other farmers.

For there to be any change in the tariff system, the whole attitude must change. Maybe unionisation of the farmers, or people in the supermarkets realising that some jobs are more important than others and are required to be properly paid, so they should pay the full price of the product and stop scrounging around for the cheapest product. (this also applies to teachers, nurses and police - but maybe that isn’t a problem in North America- hijack of the hijack)

Just my thoughts, and I would have thought that Canada, being slightly more socialistic than the US, would have higher tax rates and more stringent environmental conditions, therefore having a harder problem than US loggers. So are the Canadian loggers looking to export markets? or are they just going to fold?
FloChi

New bond issues and potentially layoffs. A lot will come down to how long it takes to win the matter at the WTO.

Two questions for discussion:

  1. What do you think the reaction would have been if Canada had done nothing?

  2. If you let your best friend stay in your house and gave her money and helped her put her life back in order when her husband deserted her, and then she turned around and stole your boyfriend, how would you feel?

I am a forest policy analyst who specializes in U.S. domestic forestry issues. I don’t normally deal with trade issues, so what I’m about to write might not be 100% accurate. That said, it’s not just B.S. or uniformed opinion, either.

Second caveat: I’m leaving tomorrow for a five day business trip, and I won’t be able to access the boards until Friday.

My own $.02 worth:

Nearly all of Canada’s timberland is owned by the goverment and is called “Crown Lands.” Sort of like if nearly all of the forests in the U.S. were national forests (they’re not, BTW) and were administered by the USDA Forest Service. (And we all know how popular the USDA Forest Service is with most folks in the U.S.) The Crown subsidizes the Canadian timber industry to help its economy; accordingly, in the absence of tariffs, Canadian lumber can be harvested, processed, and shipped long distances to the U.S., and still be sold cheaper than U.S. forest products.

That stings U.S. timber interests in two ways. First, it smacks more than a little bit of socialism as the Crown decides the rate at which Canadian timber is harvested, and not the market. Second, in the past, the Canadians have glutted the U.S. market with Crown timber, hurting U.S. businesses. Several years ago the U.S. placed a tariff on Canadian timber for a set period of time. That particular tariff expired last year, and the new administration has only recently gotten around to enacting a tariff to replace the old one.

Now, folks are free to argue that this is a hypocritical stance by the U.S., and I won’t stand in their way. And while some in the U.S. timber industry will benefit from the tariff, keep in mind that portions of the U.S. environment will as well.

How, you might ask? The tariff means that U.S. timber will be more competitive with Canadian timber, meaning that some people in the U.S. who own forest land to generate a profit will be able to make money by selling timber and fiber. How’s that help the environment? These people will plant trees when they harvest their timber and grow a new timber crop. Otherwise, when Wal Mart came calling, or the developer who wants to put in a new golf/retirement community, or some other land-use activity that means there’ll be less forest (or no forest) when the project is over, won’t be as likely to happen. Let’s face it: even a pine plantation is better for the environment than asphalt.

Lastly, this timber tariff was in the works long before Osama set his sights on the Twin Towers. Those in Canada who decry this act might spend their time more effectively lobbying the Crown to do something that reduces the real (or perceived) unfair advantage to Canadian timber. That way, if it is really a free market that makes Canadian timber the most economical choice, the U.S. will be less likely to impose a tariff.

Of course, then the U.S. would catch hell for raping the Canadian environment to fuel its own economy at the expense of old-growth spruce-fir forests. We just can’t win.

Cheers.

No potential, the layoffs have been announced.
I guess I better clarify how I was tying 9/11 to all this.
This area, at least my neighorborhood is quite low income.
As a matter of fact our family is below the poverty level and has at times been on social assistance. If I don’t post for a while it’s because we got cut off-again. Now in the days following 9/11 our first instinct as a community was to help in any way possible. One of the things done in Vancouver, was that our firemen held a “Boot Drive”, going out on the streetcorners and stepping into traffic to collect from drivers. A lot of these corners were the ones frequented by our no-income squeegee kids. I think over a million dollars were raised that day, all of which went to New York. I bet those kids don’t make $10.00 a day.
This area has an abysmal employment rate and as it happens just now, our new Provincial government has decided in it’s infinate wisdom to boot anyone they can off welfare. Now, that sounds well and good, but you can’t “Get off your lazy butt and get a job!” if there’s no jobs to be had. Now, thanks to this tarrif, there will be even less. I guess I was raised thinking the USA has all the money in the world, and maybe my resentment was taking the direction of" Well, we sent them money, which is kind of like sending gold to Fort Knox, and now they want whatever we have left too!" I never said it was rational. I’m just thinking of a lot of kid’s whose parents might have sent off a chunk of the family savings in sympathy, and who are now facing a lousy Christmas 'cause Daddy just got laid off. The fact is, I think we did a pretty fine job of rallying for our neighbors, but we do a crummy job of taking care of our own. It probably boils down to timing. The lumber thing has been going on forever, it’s just that the tarrif coming right on top of all the pro USA outburst is a bit of a shock. Something else I’m wondering about, I know quite a few Canadians died, so do the funds cover them too?

Yes! That’s exactly what I meant!

I’m sorry, guys, but I just don’t get this attitude at all.

The outpouring of sympathy (and contributions) from around the world in the wake of 9/11 meant a great deal to us. It is especially heartwarming that those in much worse shape economically gave as well. (I hear that donations even came in from Bangladesh.)

But don’t you think your analogy is slightly blowing things out of proportion here? You “took us into your home” and “we stole your boyfriend?” Gee whiz — I would have placed the analogus situation more along the lines of “When my husband deserted me, one of my best friends hugged me, patted me on the back, and gave me cab fare home. Now she’s pissed off because I haven’t written a thank-you note yet.”

Zoogirl, I am very sorry about the hardships your area will be facing. In reality, I feel that it’s coming about more because of issues like Ivorybill described, due to American timbermen crying that they can’t make a living due to unfair competition from outside the country. I seriously doubt that the legislation came out of any “Screw you, Canada” sentiments, or with the intent of negating what Canada has given to the US as a neighbor at any time, including September 11.

On a side note, I live in a state (North Carolina) which has historically had a lot of textile industry, which has nearly been run out of business in recent years by international trade. The death knell for the NC textile industry may be the removal of the ban on US-Pakistani textile trade in appreciation for their cooperation in the war with Afghanistan.

matt

That Dubya was right not to mention them during that one speech. :::d&r:::

No, I think the reaction, had there been no donations from any Canadian, would have been “what’s up with that?” But I don’t see that as particularly relevant, unless Canadians were ponying up their donations to influence foreign or trade policy.

Others have questioned this analogy pretty well already, I’ll just agree with their sentiments that it’s a pretty poor one.

Again, I’m not defending or criticising specific U.S. trade policies here. Just saying that what any particular Canadians did or didn’t do in response to 9/11 is irrelevant to them. Now, if you wanted to argue that in light of the U.S. (and Australia) lifting various trade sanctions in exchange for support in the “war on terrorism,” Canada–which has pledged its support to the coalition–deserves some consideration, that’s something else again. I started a thread on this very topic in GD several weeks ago; I’d be delighted if it were resurrected, as it sank off out of sight within a few days.

zoogirl, AFAIK all survivors of 9/11 victims are able to access the funds raised. I’d suggest checking with the American Red Cross to be sure. And again, I don’t mean to suggest that what the U.S. is doing relating to trade is good (or bad, as I don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion), just that 9/11 doesn’t have anything to do with it.

As for me, I’m just stunned that I actually said something about 9/11 that someone agreed with.

Here’s the thread I referenced in my previous post if anyone’s interested.

It’s just that I constantly hear about what wonderful friends Canada and the US are; how grateful the US is for our help in this difficult time; how much we love, support, and care for one another; and how we’re bestest buddies through all kinds of weather - except when it suits the US not to be. As was said in the quotation I posted above, that’s not a relationship; that’s a dependency, and some of us are getting rather tired of living in a dependency.