Fifty ways to leave your lover – or NAFTA

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover is the title of a song that I found tedious, so I gave up at number seven. If there were another 43 options, then the relationship was never fully related.

But with Canada Day on the immediate, from sea-to-sea-to-sea horizon, I will use the tune as my theme but will change the title to 150 Years to Confuse a Writer, because our government’s actions confuse me from the extremes of amusement to utter annoyance – or maybe it’s a melding of both.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is amusing to me; he appears to be on a quixotic treadmill in search of the perfect selfie, or being the lead ‘parader’ in a parade, or on a political river that needs to be kayaked. Unless someone wakes up soon about NAFTA, we will all be kayaking with him up the proverbial creek looking for that illusive paddle.

President Donald Trump, or the tempest that is Trump, is initiating a “massaging” of the NAFTA document, which was negotiated on our part by Brian Mulroney, a Conservative who has now been called in to assist our Liberal government representatives in the therapy. Although our media’s view seems to be that our subsidized softwood and price-fixing dairy industries are the kernel of the NAFTA problem, the U.S. does the same thing – they just spell it differently. The real problems occur on the energy side of the deal, which I have commented on many times in the past, so bear with me if you can bear it.

Recently the Toronto Star – a publication that to me, only sees the left side of the accounting ledger – ran a commentary that stopped short of offering a fix to the problem.

What is the problem you ask?

The problem is clause 600, which states that the U.S. has unfettered access to the Canadian energy sector and shall supply the U.S. at any time of supply interruption.

In fairness (sort of), Canada is to have unfettered access to the U.S. energy market also.

Sure! How many ways can you spell XL?

Time, presidents, and prime ministers change. Yet at the time of the blessing of NAFTA, our largest trading partner was dependent on imports of crude from not only Canada, but anyone who had some spare crude oil change in their pockets that they wanted to get rid of.

Now the U.S. has gone in the reverse direction to become the largest crude oil/petroleum product producer in the world. Trump is now proclaiming not only energy independence, but he now wants energy dominance!

But this can’t happen unless he has Canada on his side.

Now is the time for us to shatter the image of the polite peacemaker and look at NAFTA as not written in black and white, but a more self-serving and preserving patriotic red and white!

In my opinion, I think we were sucker punched when we signed the original NAFTA document.

It is now time to stand up and negotiate a better deal for all Canadians. We can’t ignore our most important trading partner, but the deal should recognize our importance to the U.S. as well and I don’t believe we are getting that respect.

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover but there’s only one way to leave your NAFTA if it’s one sided in favour of the U.S. – just leave.

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Roger McKnight is the Chief Petroleum Analyst with En-Pro International Inc.
Roger has over 25 years experience in the oil industry, and has held senior marketing management positions responsible for national and international accounts. He is the originator of the card lock concept of marketing on-road diesel that is now the predominant purchase method of diesel in Canada. Roger's knowledge of the oil industry in North America, and pricing structures has resulted in his expertise being sought as a commentator by local, national, and international media. Roger is a regular guest on radio and television programs, and he is quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

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