Kathy Dunderdale’s recent bombshell revelation regarding the bullish behaviour of Stephen Harper (through his rich buddy and now disgraced chief of staff, Nigel Wright) during the loan guarantee negotiations for Muskrat Falls is problematic on so many fronts.
Her surprise disclosure prompts me to wonder why the sudden and uncharacteristic bout of “openness and transparency.”
I strongly suspect that this whole affair has nothing to do with any such high ideals but rather with crass political motivations.
One such possible motive is to soften the blow on another giveaway of our constitutional power to control the processing sector in our fishery.
According to Fisheries Minister Derrick Dalley, “the end goal of (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) negotiations for the province is a zero tariff allowing for immediate market access.”
This is intentionally misleading and a false justification for another give-away.
According to a study released in January 2013 by Scott Sinclair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, access to European markets is not an issue and, “with some exceptions, tariffs on Canadian fish exports are modest and are expected to fall in countries that depend heavily on fish imports to satisfy rising consumer demand.” His study was entitled “Globalization, Trade Treaties and the Future of Atlantic Canada Fisheries.”
Incidentally, if lowering tariffs was really a bona fide issue, then why didn’t our premier approach her new friend, Stephen Harper, to negotiate a tariff-only agreement similar to the one signed in 2009 with the European Free Trade Association?
This concession would be the mother ship to the recent OCI deal.
I believe it is an imperative that we protect and maintain our constitutional right to regulate and control the fishery processing sector for the absolute maximum benefit for our people and our communities, particularly our coastal communities, and not for the maximization of profits for local or European companies.
Ken Kavanagh is chairman of the St. John’s Chapter of the Council of Canadians