Former Canadian UN Ambassador Paul Heinbecker is interviewd in this link to a Q and A with Doug Fisher of Canwest News Service published Saturday,November 8th in the Ottawa Citizen.
Q. But what about Obama's vow to reopen NAFTA?
A. Obama and a Democratic Congress might very well open up those labour and environmental provisions of the trade agreement that Obama talked about during the primaries, but there are a lot of Canadians who wouldn't mind that at all. So long as the Americans come at it recognizing that the closest they are ever going to come to energy independence is by co-operating with Canada, I think we could negotiate a pretty good outcome. It's been a long time, nearly 20 years, since the treaty was on the table, and there are plenty of items that could be added or adjusted. None of that really terrifies me.
This is exactly what I heard from Canadians on the East Coast. Ambassador Heinbecker is correct about the benefits for both sides in re-examining NAFTA and there are several other reasons why a reinterpretation of NAFTA will reveal the abuse of the treaty terms by the Bush administration and could restore the intent of the treaty.
There have been times during the last few years when CBC reported mumblings about a withdrawal from NAFTA after US intransigence on trade issues. The softwood lumber fight and a series of border closings related to beef and potatoes left Canada pissed off. Endless US appeals of legal decisions favoring Canada's trade position made some ready to quit. A reinterpretation of NAFTA in Washington could solve some of the problems immediately.
And the US electorate (and our media) should take note of the following comment:
"Canada is the Americans' largest supplier of oil, petroleum products, gas electricity and uranium. And I think significant markets could be found for those elsewhere, if necessary. The Americans know that. So it doesn't make economic sense. Nor does it make sense strategically for the U.S. to force Canada to seek other markets, like China, for resources."
Ummm yeah. We import more energy from Canada than we do from Saudi Arabia. And we get a pretty good deal on energy under NAFTA.