Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gosh is it G8 time again already?
Yes it is, and Harper will be leaving for St Petersburg this week.
You remember last year's G8 summit in Gleneagles, right?
The televised Live 8 concert and the billions of dollars in aid promised by the world's richest nations to the world's poor.

On the way over, Harper will first make a stop in England, who failed to meet the Live 8 Aid to Africa target they set for themselves last year, and afterwards he'll spend a day in France, the only country who did.
The focus of this year's G8 is "energy security".
Well, that's handy - Harper should be really well boned up on this one.
As it happens, "energy security" was also a focus of the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" pact which Harper endorsed in his meeting with Bush just this last March. In fact the phrases "North American energy security" and "North American energy markets" appear repeatedly in this document, along with the stated goal of "Increasing private sector engagement in the SPP by adding high-level business input".

Plus of course Bush and Harper announced the implementation of the North American Big Box Competitiveness Council.
Death to regulation of industry by government, but pleased as punch to have industry regulating government.
I wonder what grand promises will be made in the interests of the public good this time round.
And whether Harper will be "standing up for Canada" or North America.

Friday, July 7, 2006

The far side of crazy

From the transcript of the Bush/Harper press conference yesterday, here is Bush answering a question about the threat posed by North Korea :
Are you ready, Ginger?
"blah, blah, blah, blah, we're trying to make sure, by the way, that the missile that he fired wasn't headed for Canada. We don't know, for a fact, where it was headed. But, for example, one thing that Stephen and I talked about is he could be seemingly firing a missile at the United States, say, at -- I don't know, this is all speculation -- but could be headed toward the Northwest of our country, and it wouldn't take much for it to get off course, and end somewhere where he may not have intended blah, blah, blah, blah."
Did you get all that, Ginger?
What's that? You only heard "missile headed for Canada"?
Good boy, Ginger, good boy!
At this point Harper is balancing sucking up to Bush with not freaking Canada out about it.
Harper has hitched his wagon to Bush's falling star and up till now Canadians have shown little inclination to follow. We are especially leary of hitching Canada's wagon to Bush's Star Wars shenanigans.
Harper's best hope here is to convince Canadians that it is already too late to base our security on our ability to keep our distance from the egregious imperialist misadventures of our neighbours to the south.
So the question for Canadians is : Are we any smarter than Ginger?
Bonus snark : Bush calls Harper "Steve"; Harper calls Bush "Mr. President". Try to imagine Harper calling Bush "George".

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Gravy train spotting

Some people hate the Americans.
I don't.
Americans are just wankers.
We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers.*

Eleanor Grant has a great piece up, tracing the history and players of "deep integration", or, as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives winningly puts it : "creating a single economic space".

The only thing I would add to her excellent summary is that it's always worth dropping by the CCCE website from time to time to listen to them take credit for it.

*with apologies to Irvine Welsh

Monday, July 3, 2006

Extra soft and super absorbent

David Emerson hailed the new improved softwood lumber agreement as "a nation-to-nation agreement, it's a treaty."

Ha! Why, sure, if by "treaty" you mean another 2-ply extra-soft super-absorbent guarantee that the US will treat like so much used toilet paper whenever it suits them.
And what do we get out of it? In return for $1 billion, the US promises not to bother losing any more NAFTA court battles to us for the next two years.
Harper released a statement hailing the agreement as "a great day for Canada" and CTV further reports:
"the Tory hope is that, with softwood out of the way, Harper and Bush can concentrate on issues like global security, water exports..."

And photo ops. Lots and lots of photo ops.
You're not fooling anyone, you know.
Update : Ross at The Gazetteer is all over this.