Agreement, what agreement?

Victoria, BC, Thursday, May 4, 2006, by : Casper Davis

Negotiate is what you do before you reach an agreement - in this case, before NAFTA was signed. When you have an agreement - one that contains specific terms for settling differences under it - renegotiating the terms in the favour of one party because that party refuses to recognize the agreed upon terms, would properly be called "capitulation" not negotiation.

An agreement is a contract, just like any other contract. Say I agreed to paint your house, and you paid me the stipulated fee, but I refused to paint. Instead, I started "negotiating," and eventually offered to paint 80% of the house, some day. That is the kind of "negotiating" that the great negotiators Harper, Wilson, and Emerson have been engaged in.

The US National Home Builders' Association was sufficiently disgusted that they declared Canada to be an unreliable supplier, vowing to seek other sources for their wood:

"If the settlement is finalized and results in new trade barriers limiting Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S., NAHB will help builders seek lumber sources from other countries and promote the use of alternative building materials wherever practical.

"'From a policy perspective, NAHB will work to increase the supply of German and Swedish lumber, and we will consider options to import Russian softwood from Siberian forests,' said Jerry Howard, the association's executive vice president and CEO. 'In addition, we will encourage interested builders to explore using steel and other building materials and construction techniques.'"

If it weren't for NAFTA, Canada's exports would not have been so heavily skewed towards one extremely unreliable buyer in the first place.

The way to survive living next to an elephant is to keep on improving your relations with all the other animals, not to become more dependent on the elephant.


Casper Davis

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