President Obama is in Mexico with Stephen Harper for a summit with America’s neighbors. While standing next to the leaders of two nations he has started trade wars with, he said there was no problem with the trade between the countries because of his protectionist policies:
“This in no way this has endangered the billions of dollars of trade taking place between our two countries,” Obama said, standing beside Harper and Calderon at a final news conference.
This is an interesting, and false statement, which become obvious when you read the second paragraph in the article:
Obama told journalists at a summit with the leaders of Canada and Mexico that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has raised the issue every time they have met.
So, help me understand this. If this is no big deal, like Dear Leader says, then why would Harper bring it up, every time they meet? It seems to be a serious concern of Harper’s. And for good reason. Here’s what I wrote about the trade war with Canada:
The $787 billion stimulus bill Obama signed into law contained a “Buy American” provision that economists warned against. The protectionist provision mandates that “only U.S.-made goods be used in projects funded by the bill.” At the time, the Canadian government voiced concern.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper attempted to calm fears, saying, “I think President Obama himself said that he wants to ensure that these stimulus packages do not lead to protectionist measures in the U.S. or anywhere else.”
Fast forward three months and you find The Washington Post reporting that Canadian suppliers are being turned away from jobs in America.
Ordered by Congress to “buy American” when spending money from the $787 billion stimulus package, the town of Peru, Ind., stunned its Canadian supplier by rejecting sewage pumps made outside of Toronto. After a Navy official spotted Canadian pipe fittings in a construction project at Camp Pendleton, Calif., they were hauled out of the ground and replaced with American versions. In recent weeks, other Canadian manufacturers doing business with U.S. state and local governments say they have been besieged with requests to sign affidavits pledging that they will only supply materials made in the USA.
What happened is simple, and rather devious. Rather than create federal programs to spend the stimulus money, Canadian firms say the United States is “filtering billions of federal dollars, which are subject to NAFTA rules, to municipalities, which let out the infrastructure contracts and are not subject to any trade agreements.”
Canadians have responded in kind, with towns in Ontario putting measures in place to bar U.S. companies from municipal contracts. This could be the first shot in a growing trade war with Canada that threatens to lock U.S. based companies “out of billions of dollars worth of Canadian projects.”
Nothing to see here. There is no problem. Everything’s fine.
It reminds me a lot of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, aka Baghdad Bob, who held press conferences during the 2003 invasion of Iraq to tell us things like Americans were committing suicide in mass at the city gates. Obama says there is no problem, but Harper thinks there is, and the facts show, things are getting tense between the two trade giants.