Bush/Harper Transcript Disclosed
- “Earlier in the day, Harper met U.S. President George W. Bush in a bilateral session.
Harper and Bush spoke about the economic slump, the Detroit-Windsor bridge and Canada's concerns about new U.S. rules requiring meat and fresh produce to be labelled by country of origin, the Prime Minister's Office said.
The Canadian livestock industry says it is hurt by the U.S. labelling rules.”
Obviously, this is a last ditch effort by the Government of Canada to try and get the American President to commit to the DRIC bridge before he leaves office. Prime Minister Harper is hoping that he can get some kind of a binding deal done that will force President–elect Obama to complete this transaction.
Canada is obviously concerned that President Obama will seek to reopen the NAFTA agreement and may well use the bridge controversy as a bargaining chip. It may be our new Softwood lumber issue. There is terrific concern in Ottawa that President Obama will be extremely protectionist and that could hurt Canada’s economy. After all, the basis of Canada’s future is its Corridors and Gateways policy. Accordingly, Canada is desperate to have a deal done, and now, while the free trader President Bush is still in office.
If you think I am kidding, just look at this news story which quotes part of the speech given by the Prime Minister recently:
- “Harper's comments corresponded with a decision by the assembled leaders to put off creating any new trade barriers for 12 months in the hopes of stimulating the world's shaky economy.
"Removing protectionist barriers and easing trade restrictions was a big factor in ushering in this extraordinary era," said Harper, referring to recent years of unparalleled economic growth. "We cannot allow ourselves to turn back."
Harper said the Great Depression was prolonged by poor managerial choices on the part of governments that included shrinking the existing banking systems, raising interest rates and building barriers in a failed attempt to save jobs…
Harper's comments fell in line with a joint statement from APEC leaders which called for freer trade as a way to solve the global financial mess.
The statement from APEC members, who represent the majority of the world's economy, takes a previously-issued G20 statement a step further by imposing the year-long moratorium of trade tarrifs.
The Prime Minister said Canada would use an approach he described as being made up of "sound foundations and open doors" to navigate its way through the current economic problems.
Harper said Canada will keep its doors open to trade and resist any unnecessary forms of protectionism, while still providing financial stimulus to get the economy back on track.”
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has been poorly served again by the Canadian Embassy in Washington. I’m surprised in fact that the Canadian Ambassador, Michael Wilson, has not yet handed in his resignation after NAFTA-gate and the election of President Obama. This latest faux pas, talking about the DRIC bridge, can only help hurt relations between Canada and the United States even more. It is like rubbing Windsor salt into the new President’s wounds created by Canada before the election. It is re-opening old sores which some had hoped were healed.
As I am certain that you realize, everything that the US President says is taped for historical purposes. It becomes part of the US President’s library and, depending on the subject, can be released now or must wait a fixed number of years. How else to explain the big controversy over taking away the Blackberry from the new President.
In any event, it does not matter. My inside moles have a copy of the transcript between President Bush and the Prime Minister Harper on the subject of the bridge. Exclusively for readers of this BLOG, here it is:
Prime Minister: Mr. President, I would like to raise one more time the issue of the DRIC bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. After all, you owe me one. I did try very hard to slap down President-elect Obama with NAFTA-gate. I tried to help both Hillary and McCain.
President: Yes, Prime Minister, but trying is not enough. McCain could have beaten Hillary easily. You knew that. You did not accomplish your objective. Obama, a Democrat, was elected. In the good old USA, we don’t pay people for failure except if you are in the financial industry. Or an executive in a Big Three auto company.
Prime Minister: But…
President: Stephen, you tried that on me at the SPP conference and I said no. Then a few days later you had your Minister, Jimmy Prentice, try and embarrass me at the Council of the Americas with his speech. Did you like how I almost completely ignored Canada in my remarks. I thought the message I gave was clear. NO means NO. hehehe.
Prime Minister: But Mr. President…
President: Then you tried that leak with Radio Canada about a deal being signed in mid-July. You knew darn well that if I did something dumb like that I would get into all kinds of trouble with the US Environmental laws. What were you trying to do, get me impeached or something.
Prime Minister: Mr. President, as you know Canada is very concerned because the Windsor/Detroit crossing is the most important one between our two countries.
President: Save that talk for Windsorites whom you are trying to fool! We Texans like to get right to the point Stevie. Tell me if I have this right.
You want me to support a Canadian initiative whereby the Government of Canada builds a new Canadian-owned, public bridge that links Canada and the US. You know darn well that we can’t afford to pay for our half since we are spending so much money to prop up the financial network of the world to prevent a Great Depression as well as fighting overseas to preserve freedom for the peoples of the Great Western Democracies.
Prime Minister: We appreciate your sacrifices Mr. President.
President: Hush now Steve. You’re interrupting me. You want your P3 buddies to build this bridge which you will control forever and they will manage for 99 years ripping off American citizens for huge amounts of money as they cross over the bridge to do commerce or as tourists to pay for this socialistic nonsense. You want these P3ers to have Americans put money in their pockets. Give me a break. You are trying to take advantage of my good nature.
Prime Minister: But George, we are going to ripoff Canadians too.
President: Not only that, you are trying to sucker Michigan into doing a P3 deal at Sarnia/Port Huron so your friends can control the Blue Water Bridge crossing as well and then you want your Mayor Buddy in Windsor to control the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.
Prime Minister: I would not put it exactly that way Mr. President.
President: Well then how would you put it Stevie? As we say at the Peace Bridge: one good tern deserves another. Get the joke hehehe.
You thought you would control that crossing too with shared border management huh! All the Customs facilities of both countries under YOUR control on YOUR side of the river. We saw through that when the DRTP suggested building a huge golf-course sized dual US/Canada Customs plaza in Windsor!
Prime Minister: But George… you know I really didn’t mean it. Honest. I had my own election to fight and you know as well as I do that you have to bash Americans to win in this country.
President: So you say mon ami! I learned that in French class in high school! I can see how hard you are sucking up to the new DEMOCRATIC President.
Let me see if I understand this properly, Stevie… you want me to screw an American citizen who owns the Bridge now and who has spent his money to make this crossing the number one crossing in North America. You want me to help you take away what he and his family have built up through years of hard work so that he can sue my Government and yours accusing us of bad faith.
You want me to go against what I have already said through my Department of State already when we would not give approval for the DRIC crossing before. And you want me to do all of this at a time when there is no economic necessity for it and when we Americans don’t have the money to do it. You want this so that you and your buddies can control the key border crossings into the United States and make a fortune at the same time with a P3 at the expense of Americans. Great legacy you are leaving me Mr. Prime Minister!
As far as borders go, they do not call me George Dubai-U for nothing, chum.
Prime Minister: errrrrrrrrr… Mr. President, can we change the subject and talk about cattle.
President: Sure Mr. Prime Minister. I have a ranch in Texas with lots of cattle. I know bull when I see it! Talk quick now. President Obama only gave you 10 minutes on the phone. I am not giving you much more just because you are here in person!