Posted January 23, 2015
For a U.S. president who has spent but nine hours in Canada in the past six years, it is easy to understand why he takes us for granted. We are such milquetoast patsies to the Americans.
In his earnest appeal during the State of the Union speech to reach out and establish trade treaties with Europe and the Pacific economic rim of growing countries, he neglects to include America’s biggest trading partner – Canada.
While the U.S president brags about the surging U.S. economy, he fails to mention the effort of Canada to establish a badly needed second bridge over the Detroit River to handle the huge volume of trade that is being delayed. The project has been stymied by U.S. federal government intransigence to build a $200 million customs and immigration terminal on the Michigan side of the border.
The Canadian government has already pledged funding for building the bridge even the Michigan portion, plus the expressway entrances on the Ontario side to expedite the two-way increasing trading volume.
But the U.S. reaction to the customs plaza, needed on the Michigan end of the bridge is noncommittal. Do they really expect Canada to pony up the money to complete that customs terminal that will benefit both countries?
Now the U.S. is insisting that any project requiring materials that are manufactured outside the United States cannot be used unless it’s made in America.
The total dishonesty of this new law, called Buy American, is in the proposed renovated ferry terminal located in Northern B.C near the Alaska panhandle. It already exists on Canadian crown land that is leased back to the Alaskan Marine Ferry Service until 2063. The terminal is badly in need of upgrading and the Canadian government is prepared to undertake those renovations.
However, the Alaskan Governer insists that only U.S. steel and materials can be used under the U.S. Buy American law in renovating the ferry terminal.
Let’s get this straight. This is a terminal originally built by Canada on Canadian land and leased to the Alaska ferry service. Under this cockamamie logic, do all Canadian airports, being constantly upgrading, are now liable to only buy made in USA materials because U.S. based planes land in Canada?
Does it mean that any trucks transporting goods into Canada must be made in the U.S?
Under the Buy American law, does it mean that all hockey players in the U.S. must now only use equipment made in that country?
These actions are in clear defiance of the 36-year North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that U.S based trade unions have been battling ever since. It is the ultimate goal to set up barriers of protectionism that is misguided and illegal under NAFTA.
The ultimate final blow to Canadian sovereignty is the refusal to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built through the U.S. to transport Canadian crude to Gulf Coast refineries. Yep, the opponents are now saying the TransCanada pipelines must only use American-made pipes. They already know that the pipes have been sitting on the Canadian side of the border for three years, awaiting permission from the U.S. government.
In his State of the Union speech, Obama made a single reference to the pipeline proposal paraphrased “America is more than a pipeline.” He didn’t have the guts to even name it. Nor does he really know the facts about why his country wants our oil.
That’s what we get with a U.S. president who grew up in Hawaii has spent nine hours in Canada since his election in 2008.
When the U.S. President wants something, such as fighterjets to attack ISIL in Iraq, we’re just a phone call away.
Well, maybe we ought to tell the Alaskans the ferry terminal renovations are off the table.
Let the regular market forces determine the flow of crude to the U.S. that is showing no signs of decline. Concentrate on shipping our oil through B.C to the Pacific markets, and via Energy East to Montreal and New Brunswick and open up the European markets.
As for the new Michigan U.S. customs plaza, let’s build it with our money lease it back and own the whole project so we control the traffic and tolls.
Tomorrow: Part two of the great oil glut. How the U.S. remains a growing and major market for Canadian oil.