Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama blames Canada and NAFTA for Ohio job losses

The FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between the U.S. and Canada was signed on Jan.2, 1988 by Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney, coming into effect Jan.1, 1989. It was opposed by Ontario Liberals like David Peterson, and federally by Liberal Party leaders such as John Turner (in the 1988 federal election), and then by Jean Chretien (in the 1993 federal election).

NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) added Mexico, and was signed on Dec.17, 1992, pending final approval by each country's legislatures. NAFTA came into effect Jan.1, 1994, and was proclaimed by Jean Chretien’s Liberal government.

This was despite Chretien’s 1993 Red Book campaign promise to renegotiate NAFTA if his Liberals won the election. The Liberals did not accomplish any re negotiations, and it was Jean Chretien and Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA. (The Liberal liar Chretien also broke his Red Book promise to get rid of the GST)

The Toronto Star (May 20, 2004) wrote:

“Take Jean Chretien's Liberals. In 1993, they ran on a platform opposed to Mulroney's trade deals.
In particular, Chretien promised not to sign the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Mexico unless Canada won ironclad concessions on energy exports.
The Liberals were elected. Chretien asked the U.S. to renegotiate the energy elements of NAFTA. The U.S. said no and Chretien signed the deal anyway.”

The Globe and Mail (Nov.7, 1990) wrote:

“Mr. Chretien told reporters later that he remains convinced that the Canadian-U.S. free-trade agreement signed in 1988 must be renegotiated to restore Canadian control over the economy.”

The Toronto Star (Jan.13, 1990) wrote:

“Chretien told reporters at a Scarborough Liberal reception he would renegotiate the deal if he won the next federal election.
"In three years' time, we will see what has been the devastation and accordingly, go to the Americans and repair what is no good.
"And if there are some parts of it that are good, we keep it."”

Apparently, there was not that much “devastation”, was there? Chretien bragged at how well NAFTA was performing for Canada’s economy. Chretien’s Liberals ‘kept all the parts’.

The Montreal Gazette (Dec.7, 1993) reported:

“Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Canada will join the North American free-trade pact Jan. 1, despite his failure to negotiate a new deal on energy.
Chretien wanted the same energy protection as Mexico, but the U.S. refused to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Under the current deal, Canada must supply energy to the United States during shortages.
Chretien says Canada is protected by a government document that states Canada "will interpret and apply the NAFTA in a way which maximizes energy security for Canadians." Trade experts say this document holds little power because it's signed by Canada only.
The prime minister reassured Canadians by reminding them Canada can withdraw from NAFTA by giving the U.S. and Mexico six months notice.”

As much as they pretended in their campaigns that they were against free trade, Chretien’s Liberals, throughout 12 years of subsequent Liberal majorities, did nothing to stop it. The Liberals never gave this supposed “six months notice” to withdraw

The Toronto Star (Dec.3, 1993) wrote: “Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been accused of breaking his first election promise by deciding to proclaim the North American free trade deal without improvements he promised on the campaign trail.
Premier Bob Rae said Chretien has broken a promise and caved in on free trade.”
Bob Rae was then the NDP premier of Ontario; he has now morphed  into a federal Liberal,  hoping to run for the Liberal leadership! Funny, that. What does Rae really stand for?

The National Post (May 29, 1999) wrote:

“Last January marked the 10th anniversary of the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, and the fifth anniversary of Mexico's entrance into the expanded North American Free Trade Agreement. Both events passed with little official fanfare, in part because the governing Liberals, even though they now embrace the continental trade pact as their own achievement, were perhaps disinclined to blatantly trumpet an arrangement they once promised to rip up.
But, better late than never, last month Trade Minister Sergio Marchi published a glossy, 75-page booklet titled The NAFTA Partnership at Five Years. "By any measure, it has been an unqualified success for Canada and for our NAFTA partners," said Mr. Marchi, his air-brushed visage surrounded by equally buffed rhetoric. The agreement, he said, "has helped us to build a true family where our peoples can collectively enjoy the benefits of a unique political, economic and cultural partnership," fine words from a man who once won election by denouncing free trade as a sell-out of Canadian sovereignty.”

Joe Hueglin wrote in the Toronto Star (Apr.18, 1997):

“Jean Chretien is a hypocrite for “celebrating the 40 per cent growth in trade since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed three years ago” (Too close for comfort, April 11).
Didn't he oppose the agreement? Didn't he campaign against it in 1993? If anyone is given credit for export growth to the U.S. it must be the Conservatives. It certainly can't be the Liberals.”

David Tkachuk wrote in the Globe and Mail (Jul.31, 1998):

“We now have the Chrétien government actively promoting Roy MacLaren for the job of director-general of the World Trade Organization. This is yet another example of Liberal hypocrisy and revisionist history that the Chrétien government has refined to a fine art.
This is the same Roy MacLaren who ran as a Liberal candidate in 1988 when the Liberal Party's main plank was its opposition to free trade. And after the election, when the bill to implement the free-trade agreement was before Parliament in December of 1989, Mr. MacLaren voted against it. As well, as Liberal Opposition finance critic, it was Roy MacLaren who said that when things went wrong for the Mulroney government, the Liberals would blame it on the free-trade agreement, even if it wasn't responsible.
Indeed, this is the same Mr. MacLaren who campaigned with Jean Chrétien in the 1993 election, the latter vowing to kill the Mulroney-negotiated North American free-trade agreement. But once in office, as the new minister of international trade, Mr. MacLaren promptly signed the agreement.
Mr. MacLaren vacated his parliamentary seat in January of 1996 to accept the position of high commissioner to the United Kingdom, where he apparently awaits his next assignment.
In nominating him for this position, International Trade Minister Sergio Marchi said: "Mr. MacLaren's credentials as a free trader are impeccable."

Only the Liberals are brazen enough to make such a claim.
They are free traders all right -- freely trading on the policies of the former Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney.”

The Liberals embraced (co-opted) the Mulroney Conservatives’ free trade initiative with fervour. Chretien jet-setted about the globe, inking trade deals.

As Dianne Francis wrote in the National Post, (Jun.15, 1999) : “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and the Liberals now ruling in Ottawa tossed out their old policies and adopted Mulroney's. Lest we forget: Prime Minister Jean Chretien was going to tear up free trade but is now a devoted free trader. Chretien and Finance Minister Paul Martin did not think deficits and debts were a problem in their first budget, then realized they were and became fiscally responsible and proud of it.”

A Montreal Gazette (Aug.30, 1995) headline read: “Israel and Canada pave the way for a free-trade partnership”.

The Edmonton Journal (Jan.30, 1995) wrote:
“Chretien ends a six-country tour of the region today in Costa Rica's capital where he meets with Central American leaders. About $2.7 billion in deals were signed by Canadian businesses in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Trinidad and Uruguay.
In an interview with Maclean's magazine published today, Mulroney said Chretien is doing the right thing by pushing for free-trade throughout the hemisphere by 2005.”

The Saskatoon Star Phoenix (Nov.19, 1996) reported that Chretien’s government signed a free trade deal with Chile.

The Globe and Mail (Apr.24, 2001) reported Chretien was signing a free trade deal with Costa Rica. And there was Chretien’s Team Canada trade mission to China in 1994, along with many others to Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean,and Europe.

The Kingston Whig-Standard (Dec.31, 1998) wrote in “Ten years later, Liberals singing a different tune”:

“The signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which marks its 10th anniversary tomorrow, polarized political debate in this country like few others in recent history.
It dominated the 1998 federal election. Critics, led by Liberal leader John Turner, claimed it would kill medicare. Canadian culture would be at the mercy of Hollywood. It would be open season on our energy and water.” [Kill medicare? We should be so lucky. No chance.] “I find it's worked very well," Chretien said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. "Our trade with the United States has multiplied enormously and Canada has adjusted very well to the situation."
That's a far different tune than the dark number Turner sang on the campaign trail in '88, when he declared his campaign to kill the accord was the fight of his life.”

Free trade has been good for Canada and its mutual partners, yet we still do hear Canadian protectionists, many of them NDP socialists, complaining about it.

But now in the U.S. presidential race, there is this Associated Press (Feb.25, 2008) headline:

Obama hits Clinton on NAFTA support in drive to win crucial Ohio primary”.

The story reports: “Barack Obama hammered Hillary Rodham Clinton on her long record of support for a free-trade agreement unpopular with working-class voters as he pushed to win next week's Ohio primary and possibly force his rival from the Democratic presidential race…
Recent polls show the race in Texas to be a statistical dead heat. In Ohio, polls show Clinton with a narrowing lead in the Midwestern industrial state where trade has long been a sensitive issue.
Given that backdrop, Obama has made trade the core of his drive to make inroads among working-class voters. He accused Clinton of trying to walk away from her long record of support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying the free trade pact with Mexico and Canada has cost 50,000 jobs in Ohio, a Midwestern industrial state.
At the same time, he said attempts to repeal the trade deal "would probably result in more job losses than job gains in the United States."
One day after Clinton angrily accused him of distorting her record on NAFTA in mass mailings to voters, Obama was eager to rekindle the debate, using passages from the former first lady's book as well as her own words.
"Ten years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America," Obama said Sunday. "Well, I don't think NAFTA has been good for America — and I never have."
"The fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for president," the Illinois senator told an audience Sunday at a factory that makes wall board, located in a working class community west of Cleveland.
"A couple years after it passed, she said NAFTA was a 'free and fair trade agreement' and that it was 'proving its worth.' And in 2004, she said, "I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York and America," he said.
A spokesman for Clinton, Phil Singer, said the New York senator and former first lady was critical of NAFTA long before she ran for president. He cited remarks from March 2000 in which she said, "What happened to NAFTA, I think was we inherited an agreement that we didn't get everything we should have got out of it in my opinion. I think the NAFTA agreement was flawed."
Singer also said that in 2004 in Illinois, Obama spoke positively of the trade agreement, saying the United States had "benefited enormously" from exports under NAFTA.
The trade agreement has long been unpopular in the industrial Midwest, where critics blame it for lost jobs and shuttered factories, many of which once employed union workers who tend to vote Democratic.”

Obama is blaming NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico for 50,000 Ohio job losses??! This is the same kind of manufacturing sector job-loss accusation that Canadian socialists are blaming the Americans for!! Where in Canada did these thousands of jobs materialize? Does Obama realize that Ontario, Canada's manufacturing centre, is suffering a real manufacturing downturn? The question is, how much worse would it be if U.S. protectionism limited our export opportunities to just to our own small market? Should we stop importing U.S. made products?

And, one would think that Ms.Clinton would be supportive of NAFTA – after all her husband, as president, signed NAFTA along with Chretien in 1994!! So what "flawed" agreement did she say the Americans "inherited"? What does that mean?

Obama’s and Clinton's pandering to this anti-free trade niche in the States is troubling – it sounds just like the Liberal posturing and rhetoric Chretien used to peddle in Canada in the early 1990’s to gain the ‘disenchanted’ vote. Chretien then did exactly opposite of what he claimed he was going to do: saying he was against free trade, then spending the next twelve years promoting free trade.

When Obama says he has never thought free trade was good for America, this protectionist bent should be of serious concern to both Canadians and Americans. What’s his proposed alternative? Is Obama proposing that the U.S. give their six-month notice to the other NAFTA partners indicating that the Americans will be pulling out of the trade agreement??

Here is what Terence Corcoran presciently wrote in “It may be trade, but it's not truly free” on this very subject (National Post, May 29, 1999). Corcoran was writing about the tenth anniversary of free trade (Free trade @ ten conference) which had been held in Montreal and was attended by many influential dignitaries:

“Behind all the debate and triumphalism, the greatest gap in the conference is likely to be a sense of confusion over the nature of free trade itself. While the agreements are called free trade agreements, they are too often portrayed as simply vehicles for boosting exports, for expanding the markets for goods produced at home. The agreements themselves have turned much of North America into a tariff-free zone, but they have also entrenched many protectionist programs. In some key sectors, notably automobiles, managed trade and balanced trade remain the principal objectives. The battle for free trade is far from over, either among the NAFTA partners or elsewhere. In the United States, Pat Buchanan will soon be back on the election trail, spreading his message of protectionism and lost jobs and giant sucking sounds. His counterpart in Canada, Maude Barlow, still attributes all that happens in the Canadian economy to the free trade agreements. In a recent article in The Globe and Mail, Ms. Barlow managed to lump Canada's higher unemployment rate, rising rate of foreign investment, rising debt walls, child poverty, and executive salaries into a big stew labelled free trade. Without clear articulation of the principles of free trade from past and current political leaders, the Pat Buchanans and Maude Barlows will always have an opportunity to find an audience for protectionism. Jean Chretien sees free trade as a one-way street to promote Canadian exports. Many U.S. politicians, from President Clinton on down, push "fair" trade as if it were synonymous with free trade. But the apparatus of fair trade actually produces the antithesis of free trade. The idea of fair trade, in fact, is responsible for the recent U.S. push for access to Canada's magazine markets. By threatening a trade war with Canada over magazines, and with Europe over hormone- fed beef or with Japan over steel or autos, the United States engages in trade aggression that has no relation with the principles of free trade. Canada's behaviour is not much better. The objective of free trade is to allow the flow of good and services from the places where they can be produced most efficiently. When a country uses trade protection to block imports, using such fair trade dodges as anti-dumping and tariffs, it deprives its citizens of the greatest opportunities to increase their wealth. At the anniversaries of the North America free trade agreements, fair trade theory still dominates, and it's doubtful the principles of genuine free trade are fully understood.”

It looks like the names have changed, but the same political rhetoric is being recycled again.

Will Democrats force the unraveling of NAFTA?
Let's fast forwad to Don Pittis and his Jan.24, 2017 CBC report  to see that NOWHERE IN THE REPORT  - actually, another example of CBC's FAKE NEWS - does Pittis mention how the federal Liberals under Chretien (and the Ontario Liberals, such as MPP Jim Bradley. under David Peterson) were rabidly AGAINST free trade. Pittis purposefully - craftily - glosses over these specifics! Pathetic.
Funny how the CBC's revisionist "fake news" works, eh, slanted, biased and well, just cherry-pickingly all-around FAKEY!!
Canadian lefties were against free trade then, doing their best to slime and smear Mulroney.
Hey, now that Trump is doing what Maude Barlow wanted - why didn't the CBC interview her?
Hey: now that Trump is doing what Obama wanted to do, why didn't CBC's Pittis mention that FACT??
'Fake News' much, CBC??! Clearly, certain inconvenient facts get in the way of  today's anti-Trump narrative in 2017, just as they did in the anti-Mulroney narrative 25 yrs. ago.

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