Wednesday, July 06, 2005

To the USA: Pull in Your Horns a Bit

A letter in response to a Macleans article by John Gibson
Reprinted with permission
Mr. John Gibson, Fox News:

In reading your comments about Canada in your article in MacLeans Magazine I wondered how a newsperson with all of the resources you must have for in-depth research could have written such a shallow, cliché-ridden article.

I am a rural Canadian, living six hours drive from the nearest large city (Vancouver). I live in a community that depends on forestry, agriculture and tourism for its economic well being. That means that your comments on mad cow and softwood lumber bear some thought. As well your overall tone of sarcasm deserves a response.

First you must understand that every Canadian is always aware that we rarely appear on America's radar screen unless America sees a major advantage. Softwood lumber and agriculture are a case in point. When America wanted the North American Free Trade agreement it was fiercely negotiated on all sides but in the end was determined by the American negotiators. However, your lumber interests were not prepared to see softwood lumber part of an open free trade, hence the softwood lumber agreement. Once that agreement was up for renewal your industry and government deemed Canada an unfair competitor and heavy duties were placed on shipments to the USA. The only people who have really suffered is the American consumer. But, what really burns those of us who live in rural Canada is that, at every court challenge, America has lost and has simply refused to accept the rulings, even those where American members of the tribunal were in the majority.

When your government, after much careful investigation and with the full cooperation of Canada, decided to lift the ban on Canadian cattle you found a way through the courts to stop the lifting.

What we have learned from these particular actions is that there is no way of winning when you deal with America. The rule of law for you simply highlights the need to find or write a new law.

And dare I mention agricultural subsidies? Yesterday we bought apples in our local store that are a product of the USA. They were cheaper than Canadian apples simply because of your farm subsidies.

Your little excerpt from your book 'Hating America, the New World Sport' does not include any Canadians I know. None of us hates America. Most of us have friends and often relatives south of the 49th parallel. But we are a nation one-tenth your size in population (in fact the population of California is greater than Canada's). We are wary of you. Canada has only been invaded by a foreign power twice in our history, both times by the USA. We know that the minute you deem it in your national interest to need our water or oil that you can come and take it.

You see, as the 'New Roman Empire', we have to be wary and sometimes this may come across as being angry or jealous or any of the other adjectives you used. America has demonstrated many times in recent years that its interests supersede everything, including national sovereignty.

So pull in your horns a bit. We don't hate you; we aren't jealous; we're careful. To misquote one of our politicians, sleeping next to an elephant makes one careful.


Jack Witty
108 Mile Ranch, BC

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