Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 20:01:19 -0500
From: Bob Olsen <>
Subject: Canada Lose Sovreignty: Star Editorial
Precedence: bulk

More than livelihoods are at stake in the salmon war: we could lose our sovereignty (except)

Editorial by Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Sunday 21 December 1997

Beginning as a fight over who gets to fish for sockeye salmon, it has escalated into an all-out, six-way political brawl involving both countries, three states and the government of British Columbia.

But most of all, the dispute has highlighted an increasingly vexing question: Is it possible for Canada to win anything in a face-to-face disagreement with its nearest and most powerful neighbour?

Is it even worth trying?

If not, what's the point of pretending to have an independent foreign policy—or even an independent country?

No nation on Earth can force the United States to do what it does not want to do, Anderson said then. We have to show them that their moral position in the world is enhanced.

I think the Canadian government has now taken the position that there is nothing we can do vis-à-vis the United States, he told The Star this fall. I think this is a fundamental shift in thinking by the Canadian government.

When Prime Minister Jean Chr=E9tien won power in 1993, he vowed that the buddy-buddy days of the Brian Mulroney era were over. No more would a Canadian prime minister trot off to Washington to fawn in the reflected glory of the U.S. president.

Yet when the U.S. breaks either the spirit or letter of the same treaties, Ottawa says it has no choice except to acquiesce to that, too.

Even in the lengthy and economically crucial softwood lumber dispute—where, legally, Canada had a solid case—Ottawa finally caved in to American pressure and agreed to voluntarily limit exports.

The reasons for Ottawa's increased timidity have much to do with the free trade pact and its successor, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Both altered dramatically the nature of the Canadian economy. Firms manufacturing for the domestic market were devastated by free trade. But those producing for export flourished.

The net effect was to dramatically increase Canada's economic dependence on the U.S. This in turn had political implications.

With unemployment stuck in the 10 per cent range, the federal government was loath to do anything that might hurt the only bright spot in the economy—exports.

The net result has been an even greater unwillingness to do or say anything that might discomfit the United States.

Maybe all of those fishermen should just go to Calgary or Brampton or somewhere and get other jobs and watch NFL football like everyone else and quit whining.