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Nov 4, 2008 12:12 pm

Canada's PM wants McCain to Win

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Whatever the average Canadian thinks, the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper favors McCain as President. In this, he may be almost unique among global heads of government. Harper (aka Fido) has forged a close relationship with the Bush administration of which a McCain administration would be a continuation. Moreover, Harper views Obama as a threat to NAFTA -- the agreement that defines trade between the two nations.

Paul Cellucci -- the ambassador to Canada for 4 years under Bush -- explained,"There's a danger for Canada in that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the primary campaign were just about in a race to see who could take us out of NAFTA the quickest. They made some pretty strong statements about the North America Free Trade Agreement, and if Barack Obama is elected with a strong Democratic majority in the House and the Senate, there's going to be a lot of pressure on him to do what he said he would do."

Yes, I know Cellucci may be shilling for the GOP but there is no question that McCain is pro-NAFTA; Obama is not. Personally I wouldn't mind if NAFTA went down in flames as long as 1) it wasn't replaced by a worse, more protectionist agreement, or 2) Canada was not so dependent on the States as a trading partner.

As a way to escape that dependency, Canada is currently discussing a sweeping free trade agreement with the European Union. The Vancouver Sun reported,

IProgress is being made, it appears. Canada and the EU are already preparing their positions on what such a pact might cover. Substantive talks are to start"as soon as possible in 2009," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last week. They might cover harmonizing regulations, an open-skies deal, a carbon-trading accord, and farm subsidy issues....If Canadians had easy access to the European market, with its 500 million people, and if Europeans had assured access to the Canadian market, the benefits could be substantial on both sides; totalling something like $27 billion a year

Of course, much of what the EU wants access to are Canada's immense natural resources -- minerals, timber, oil, water...

As I understand it, a likely term of the pact would be the ability of Canadians to work in or for the EU without the current red tape; in short, Canada might function somewhat as though it were an affiliate-member of the EU. Freer labor policies and open-skies sound appealing. But, then, government agreements are not known for producing greater freedom or efficiency...

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