The former Tory and now Liberal MP Scott Brison was on TV earlier today whining about how bad a deal the Conservatives have made with the United States to avoid their Buy American protectionism. The deal should have been made more quickly, he claims, and we gave up too much to secure it.
Pretty rich for a Grit—even this memory-challenged Tory-hater—to be criticizing any trade deal when the last time a Liberal government faced the United States in a trade dispute it wasn’t able to get a deal despite trying for over three years.
In 2002, the United States imposed duties of 27 per cent on Canadian softwood lumber. The Liberal government of the day fussed around with that file accomplishing little while our lumber industry suffered severely. An agreement in principle to end the dispute was reached in 2003, but it collapsed two days later. It took a newly elected Conservative government to finally end the dispute in the summer of 2006.
As to us giving up too much. Is it too much to expect that to avoid Buy American trade barriers, we have to commit to not using Buy Canadian procurement practices? That’s the whole point of free trade, isn’t it?
But I never thought the turncoat was particularly bright.
It’s a good thing for Canada that we have a Tory government ever so often so it can clean up the messes left by Liberal governments. By the time former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s three consecutive majorities had run out of steam,overburdened by scandals, inept budgetary control and ill-advised international agreements, it was left for Stephen Harper’s Tories to step in and clean up.
Remember Shawinigate? Questions still linger over Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s involvement in 1993 in two properties in his riding. Chrétien sold his stake in the Auberge Grand-Mère resort just before becoming prime minister and sold his shares in the Grand-Mère Golf Course shortly after that. But he wasn’t paid for the golf course shares until 1999.
When exactly did Chrétien stop having an “interest” in the properties? Twice in 1996, he contacted François Beaudoin, president of the federal Business Development Bank of Canada, about a $2-million loan being sought by Yvon Duhaime, the new owner of the Auberge Grand-Mère, to expand the hotel. The prime minister made another call to the BDC in 1997 about a scaled-back version of the loan.
The federal ethics commissioner did rule that Chrétien had done nothing wrong, but for many of us his dealings on that file did not pass the sniff test.
Then there was the billion-dollar boondoggle when in 2000 an internal audit found that Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government had failed to track employment program grants worth $1-billion to make sure the money was spent properly and the promised jobs were created.
At one time, the RCMP had launched 12 separate investigations into Human Resources Development Minister Jane Stewart’s department files as a result of the audit. Three of those investigations related to grants awarded in the prime minister’s riding of Saint-Maurice. The scandal ruined Stewart’s political career and she decided not to run again in the 2004 federal election.
And who can forget the Federal Sponsorship Scandal, so-called Adscam? Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s scathing report used words like “scandalous” and “appalling” to describe how the Liberal government had run roughshod over the system as it “broke just about every rule in the book.”
We also saw the creation of a national gun registry go right off the rails in the mid-1990s under former prime minister Jean Chrétien. Estimates in 1995 of the cost of the gun registry were $119-million with registration fees to bring in $117-million, leaving the total cost to the taxpayers of $2-million. The Auditor General Report 2002 revealed that the Department of Justice was estimating the gun registry program would cost more than $1-billion by 2004-05, and collect about $140 million in fees. This estimate did not even include other financial impacts on the government.
And what about Canada’s involvement in the Kyoto Protocol. Former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s government made Canada an object of international disdain—and the stain on our international reputation remains to this day. The Grits signed the Kyoto Protocol committing us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels. But by March 2006 we found out that since ratifying Kyoto Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions had actually increased by 24 per cent, making Canada a poster-boy for ignoring internationally commitments.
And so it went, Liberal wrongdoing and mismanagement.
Return to Main page »
© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.