Western Producer Mar 10,

W. Producer Mar 10: BSE Border issue: are we surprised?This has
nothing to do with tax or immigration between Canada and the US.
The following column by Award Winning Agrologist, Wendy Holm is being
sent as a political statement.
Our Canadian Politicians have fallen flat on their duff with regard to
the border closure to Canadian Beef.
And, with Paul Martin's rejection of the missile defense plan, should
we wonder that our softwood lumber and cattle exports are not being
dealt with fairly by the US government.
reprinted with nothing changed.
david ingram
-----Original Message-----
From: Wendy Holm, P.Ag. [mailto:holm at axion.net]
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 2:45 PM
To: holm at axion.net
Subject: W. Producer Mar 10: BSE Border issue: are we surprised?
Border issue: are we surprised?
OPINION, Western Producer, March 10, 2005,
Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag.
822 words
Last week's decision by a United States district court in Montana
and the 52-46 Senate vote the next day calling for a continuation
of the NAFTA-illegal trade embargo on Canadian should come as no
Those who disagree need only read the January 4th call to arms of
the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, formerly the trusted
ally of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.
In its nine action steps, three of which begin with the word
"insist"; one with "demand", the NCBA rallies its members to
contact Congressmen, Senators and senior White House officials
"to strongly communicate their concerns" about the (then) pending
resumption of fair trade in beef and cattle on March 7th.
In a system driven by special interest groups and an elected
judiciary, politics has and will continue to dictate the terms of
US trade.  And once more, both the CCA and Ottawa were caught
with their pants down around their collective and quivering
Ottawa's reaction to the March 2nd ruling? Incredibly, in his
press statement of last week, Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell
assured Canadians that he "shares the profound disappointment" of
Canada's ranchers, but "appreciates the assurances" of the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that they will continue
to work to reestablish trade "in an expeditious manner".
Right.  Rather than picking up the North American free Trade
Agreement bat and using it to launch a Chapter 20 panel ruling
against Washington, a ruling that would most assuredly be in
Canada's favour, resulting in an open border or the right to $7
billion in trade retaliation, Mitchell instead promises Ottawa
will "continue to stand behind Canada's livestock industry" and
"carefully consider the appropriate next steps."
What hogwash.
With vision like that, it's little wonder farmers are losing
ground.  If the situation weren't so critical, Mitchell's
response would be laughable. Instead, it should be actionable.
If Ottawa was really standing up for Canada's ranchers, it would
have used the trade tools at its disposal to end this charade
almost two years ago.
Last fall, in desperation, the Canadian Cattlemen for Fair Trade,
some 500 strong, launched a private NAFTA action to recover
profits lost by Washington's trade-illegal expropriation of
Canada's market share.
According to statements made by Lori Wallach, director of the US
based public advocacy group Public Citizen, CCFT's NAFTA suit is
what finally started the clock ticking in February: "We wonder
what role this secretive $300 million NAFTA challenge is playing
in the Bush administration's irresponsible proposal to reopen the
border to Canadian beef and cattle in March."
If, as Mitchell claims, Ottawa was indeed standing up for
Canada's ranchers, they would have given up the "good guy" stance
and backed the Canadian Cattlemen for Fair Trade with a federal
NAFTA challenge of their own.
Instead, bureaucrats have continued to shuffle paper while
industry leaders - with Washington and Ottawa on their speed
dials - mutter empty assurances to an industry left twisting in
the wind.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association's reaction to last week's
Montana District Court ruling? Could have been written by
Mitchell's bureaucrats.
In it's press release of March 2nd, the CCA called the injunction
"a temporary setback" and assured ranchers that it "remains
convinced of the merits of the USDA rule".
Convinced by what?  Convinced by whom?  Instead of protecting
Canada's trade rights under NAFTA, Ottawa and the CCA instead
spent the winter months preparing uninvited briefs to the Montana
District Court, a venue where they have no standing.
Both were rejected by the judge hearing the R-CALF petition.
Are we surprised?
Both were a waste of time and money when there is precious little
time and money left.
Interestingly, it is the 300-plus page U.S. rule itself that may
be Canada's strongest defence under a NAFTA claim.  An unintended
indictment of the US processes, it confirms there is no new
information to justify Washington's 22-month delay in fully
re-opening the border to Canadian beef and cattle.
Invoking NAFTA Chapter 20 to defend the trade rights of Canada's
ranchers is Ottawa's responsibility.  Pushing them to do so is
CCA's responsibility.
Failing that, it falls to Canada's ranchers to either light a
fire under the current CCA leadership or declare the organization
irrelevant and go directly to Ottawa demanding action.
The shame of it is that for the past two years, those whose jobs
it is to defend the trade interests of Canada's ranchers have
been afraid to do so.  You can bet Washington would come out
swinging if the situation were reversed, and Americans respect
nothing less.
Wake up, Canada.  We are a strong, articulate and proud nation.
It's past time to stand up and fight for our rights and not yield
to the bullying tactics of American trade politics.  The fate of
rural Canada and the men and women whose families have built this
great nation hangs in the balance.
Wendy Holm, P,Ag., holm at farmertofarmer.ca
Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag.  is an Agrologist, resource economist and
author based on Bowen Island, BC.  holm at farmertofarmer.ca,
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          Economist, Agrologist, Writer
Agriculture.  Economics.   Policy.     International Co-operation
phone:  (604) 947-2893
fax:    (604) 947-2321
email:   holm at farmertofarmer.ca
web:      www.theholmteam.ca
BC Agrologist of the Year (2000)
Double Queen's Medalist (1993, 2002)
Gold Award, Press Column, 2003 (Canadian Farm Writers Federation)
Bronze Award, Press Editorial, 2003 (Canadian Farm Writers Federation)
Silver Award, Press Editorial, 2004 (Canadian Farm Writers Federation)
CODE of ETHICS:  The profession of Agrology demands
integrity, competence and objectivity in the conduct of its Members
while fulfilling their professional responsibilities to the Public,
the Employer or Client, the Profession and other Agrologists.
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