Monday, April 20, 2009

Canada Drives Free Trade Agenda at Summit of the Americas

Investors' Business Daily reports that Canada is taking the lead role in promoting free trade at the summit of the Americas:

Canada, by contrast, is taking the lead. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his top priority at the Summit is to champion free trade, in line with the will of the region's real democracies.

"Our focus for the Summit of the Americas will be about free trade and avoiding other countries moving back to protectionist measures," Harper's spokesman said. "Canada's position is that we must not allow the impact of the (financial) crisis to reverse our hard-fought progress towards freer trade and investment."

Stephen Harper's words will mean something because they are consistent with his government's actions. They also matter because they are right - now is not the time for protectionist measures. But note the word contrast in that first sentence. The article contrasts Canada's leadership with a distinct lack of leadership coming from President Obama:

"Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors," he said. "We have been too easily distracted by other priorities and failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress through the Americas."

Having never set foot south of our border nor paid much attention to the region until this week, he should speak for himself. . .

Today, Obama is paying only lip service to that trade goal while two finished free-trade treaties with friendly American allies Panama and Colombia sit in his desk drawer, unvoted-on in Congress. . .

and [he] won't think of ending the senseless tariffs on Brazil's ethanol — another
major free-trade, and energy policy, issue.

Obama's ineffectiveness and insincerity at this summit are not surprising. This is the same president who came to Canada and said proudly "I love Canada!" Then he went home and worsened the trade relationship immediately by making Country of Origin Labelling requirements less clear and sticking new punitive duties on Canadian softwood lumber. Way to show us your love Mr. President.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to PM Harper - he is a voice of reason and resolve when dealing with the issues of international trade and diplomacy. Our Prime Minister is gaining quite the international reputation and following amongst his peers. Obama may be popular but he's not very effective. The President is such a dandy, I see him as a dude, newly arrived at the train station with his fancy clothes and top hat not ready for the real world of international politics. What do they say in southern Alberta, "all hat and no cattle" or is it "sizzle without the steak", whatever. Cheers Fernstalbert

Real Estate in Toronto said...

Mr. Harper is right about the protectionism, there is no need for it now and it needs to be eliminated at all cost. But it is quite an impossible feature to achieve in other countries, doesn't matter if Canada is protectionism free if the US keep on favoring their own businesses and constructing lame laws to prevent the free trade. Way to go Mr. Obama.

Take care, Elli