At last, nearly 20 years into free trade with the United States and with things really not going our way in the softwood lumber dispute, even the architects of the Free Trade Agreement and its successor, the North American Free Trade Agreement, are sounding free trade’s death knell.
Apparently, these politicians, policy analysts and negotiators believed in 1988 that free trade would be worthwhile for Canada, not imagining that its partner, the U.S. government, might screw us over when rulings (or in the case of softwood lumber, too many rulings to keep track of) didn’t go its way. Some of them still have the gall to remark that on the whole, free trade works for Canada. But at least they’ve admitted that the U.S. has “betrayed” them, and started to question the whole agreement as a result.
Curiously, Bruce Campbell of the CCPA says Canada has options within the agreement to stand up to our grouchy neighbours. I say the only way to preserve our sovereignty and prevent a corporate takeover of our health care system and cultural industries is to gradually wean ourselves off free trade and explore bilateral fair trade agreements with other interested parties.
Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see how this softwood lumber affair plays out in the end.