Friday, September 29, 2006

Canadian Bacon 

Harper was so anxious to get the softwood lumber deal in place by this weekend that he was going to use $1 billion of Canadian taxpayers' money to pay off the Americans.
It was part of this money that was going to create the $450 million slush fund for the White House.
The Globe reports that the deal is going to be delayed because about 20 per cent of the businesses covered by the deal - 86 out of 400 - refused to sign over their duty refunds to the government, and refused to drop their lawsuits.
Apparently, the government had thought they could "finesse" the holdouts by using federal tax revenues to pay off the Americans. However, they couldn't unilaterally nullify the lawsuits:
The agreement required Canadian firms to sign over their right to duty refunds to the federal Export Development Corp. so some of the roughly $5-billion (U.S.) could be retained by the U.S. government and American producers. The EDC would, in turn, give exporters 80 per cent of the duties they had paid.
A number of companies have refused to sign over their rights but Ottawa was expected to use taxpayer money to ensure the Americans received the guaranteed $1-billion.
However, the U.S. stipulation that all lumber-related trade cases be withdrawn was impossible to finesse, said Mr. Gray. "The last I heard, it was 86 companies out of the 400 or so had not signed," he said. "I think that's their single most important issue. Our rights are our rights in American courts and I don't know how they can take that away from us."
Emphasis mine
Personally, I'm glad the White House isn't getting their hot little hands on my income taxes just yet. I know its a pittance in the great scheme of things, but I earned it and I do care about how it is spent . . .

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