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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Lumber - an example of Canadian trade hypocrisy

Demolish government intervention in the lumber industry and beyond

by StFerdIII

You have to love a country that disengages itself from reality so often. The Canadians – smug, moralistic, largely ignorant about history, economics and the world at large – declare themselves superior, intelligent and advanced. The Multi-Cult club of anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Jewish policy reigns beloved. Whole industries lie under government control to the detriment of bank accounts and morality. Boards manage all commodities excluding oil. Lumber which is a politically sensitive and vital regional jobs program in many parts of the country is massively subsidized by more than $4 billion per annum. Yet to hear the Canadians chatter about lumber you would think that they are pristine virtuous virgins engaged in acts of morality while the hated Americans are planning the destruction of thousands of unionized Canadian jobs and the shuttering of Canadian villages dependent on the lumber trade. The fact that Canada will forever subsidize its lumber and never solve the systemic problems in the lumber trade highlights the poverty of big socialism.

Canadian trade policy has always been ‘managed’ trade. Even within the key auto and auto parts sectors, very little in Canada is subject to ‘free trade’ with the USA [there are Canadian content restrictions in auto and auto-parts]. Yet Canadian media and politicians want the public to believe that in general trade matters and in softwood lumber in particular – an industry with 300.000 jobs and worth $70 billion per annum – there is a free and fair trade with the USA. This is laughable and the recent settlement with the US to resolve this dispute highlights the big statist model that produces moral and economic retardation.

Canada subsidizes and protects the following sectors: fishing, transport, banking, dairy, beef cattle, wheat, eggs, poultry, communications, culture, media, water, power, and health care - to name a notable few with price boards, supply boards and regulatory agencies. Yet the gullible public is supposed to believe, thanks to media dis-information and political ‘national socialism’ ravings by lying politicians, that softwood lumber is a free trade product – outside of the usual Canadian protectionism? How logical. Of course lumber is just a part of the entire Canadian trade problem – government mismanagement via artificial quota’s; price supports; price setting and demand management. Until these programs of distortion are eradicated free and fair trade will never exist in lumber or in the countless other industries managed by the mommy-state.

Lumber like other ‘sensitive’ commodities is not traded under free or fair trade conditions. Canadian governments do not set market prices for timber land; there are numerous kick backs and subsidies to Canadian lumber firms from governments; export log quotas and production/processing requirements are protectionist; and the granting of licenses to cut timber is highly regulated and discriminatory. The entire Canadian lumber sector is therefore non transparent, government controlled and regulated. This is not to say that the US is a nirvana of free markets in lumber – but the overt control by government is largely non-existent and the US does have first and foremost market based timber pricing. Canada does not though in some areas there is a movement to market based pricing albeit painfully slowly.

Canadian politicians are socialist demagogues, and are quite good at using the media to blast out anti-American claptrap on trade issues. Managed trade in Canada and quiet protectionism has a long history. Michael Hart’s excellent book on Canadian trade history makes this clear. Contrary to their propaganda Canadians are not free-traders - agricultural barriers against third world poor is a simple example of such hypocrisy. As Herbert Gruel, a professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, and a senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, states:

"[T]he existing system was created to help the development of the province's vast timber resources. The industry got used to the benefits the system provided and removing them would impose substantial hardships. Many sawmill workers would have to accept lower wages or even lose their jobs. Much investment would have to be written off."

In other words, artificially-low stumpage fees are a make-work system benefiting Canadian loggers and sawmill operators. A United States industry group, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, claims these Canadian subsidies have almost ruined the United States softwood industry. "Despite a strong home building market, U.S. lumber prices are touching new lows, bankruptcies and mill shutdowns are high and climbing higher, while Canada's share of the U.S. market approaches 35 percent, a near record high."

In fact a long list of Canadian industry needs reform and free trade. Softwood lumber is really just an example of Canadian hypocrisy and political double talk. So we have the media, their political allies, and the whole nexus of anti-US, anti-trade, and anti-corporate groups using the softwood lumber dispute to criticize the US, and cover up egregious subsidization and the waste of taxpayer money. Yet all the while Canadians are being told that they are wonderful free traders as they pour more money into unionized Lumber shops in sensitive vote rich districts with anti-American gift tags attached.

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