Well, it seems the wheels have come off their wagon.
The United States said yesterday that it will launch arbitration proceedings under last year's softwood lumber agreement because it claims Canada is flagrantly violating the terms of the hard-fought deal.
But any disagreements are merely the result of differing interpretations of the deal, the Canadian government and Canadian lumber lobbyists said, expressing confidence Canada will win the fight when it goes to the London Court of International Arbitration.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said Canada is breaching the terms of the softwood lumber agreement, in place since last October, because too much lumber from British Columbia and Alberta is crossing the border. On top of that, several assistance programs in Quebec and Ontario violate other parts of the deal, she said.
Doesn't this sound like we are right back where we started? Why yes, it does. In fact, it's a step backwards yet again. When Harper started waving his agreement with the US around, Canada was about a year away from final court hearings in the legal challenges - and we were poised to win - even under US law. We're just a billion dollars or so poorer because of the deal.
This is what Harper's "Gettin' Things Done" government has accomplished all along - nothing. You don't get along with the US government by sucking up to them - that's at best a short term strategy. The US doesn't respect sycophantic cooperation, and never has. Canada has always done best by standing its ground and forcing the US government to abide by its own laws on trade.