Wednesday, March 02, 2005

More Payback?

Earlier this week Canada opted out of the missile defense program and concern rapidly spread that our erstwhile allies would retaliate. Already, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has cancelled a state trip to Canada. Tonight, another blatantly anti-Canadian action was taken south of the border; is this the second wave in a petty game of international payback?

US District Judge Richard Cebull has delayed the planned opening of the border to Canadian beef. The industry has lost over $7B in the 22 months that the border had been closed. Prime Minister Paul Martin pledged to the people that he would get the border opened, and the issue was a major part of the meeting between Martin and President Bush last year.

Belinda Stronach has already jumped on the issue, pointing out that the issue highlites the failure of Mr. Dithers to improve relations with America:

"When the prime minister should have been nurturing support throughout the American political system to keep the border open, he and his cabinet were skulking away from a proper discussion of missile defence with the U.S. government,' she said in a release.

"The border closure on BSE is a perfect example of the kind of real-world situation where Canadian interests would be looking for maximum help from the administration."
American administration officials insist that this is a temporary measure which will be resolved shortly. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns reiterated that the border will open shortly.

Andy Mitchell, Canada's Minister of Agriculture, pointed out that this is the action of one American judge, not the American government. Still, the fact of the matter is that Canadian beef will still not be crossing the border come Monday, and another chance to at least give the appearance of improving relations has gone by the wayside.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Marina said...

It's not payback, the government has nothing to do with it at all. However, it is symptomatic of worsening relations between the countries.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Caurus said...

The problem is that this never would have been an issue if we were still as close as we were during the Clinton administration. It's only because of poor relations that groups like the anti-Canadian beef group can operate. This may not be the actions of the Bush administration, but it is definetly something that would not have occured except for the sad state of our relations.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Scott Tribe said...

I dont classify this as payback at all.. mainly because if you've followed the history of this case.. . you would have seen that this same Federal Judge was giving indications about being sympathetic to the American Ranchers case back in April of last year when the case was allowed to proceed.. just read the brief from the judge at that time, and you can see this decision coming a mile away.

What will be more telling however, is how vigourously the USDA pursues the appeal route.

THat being said, I still support Canada's decision on what they did (even if I shake my head at how Martin went about it).

12:28 PM  

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