Vive Le Canada

Canada should focus on relief, not trade disputes: Lib. Grafstein
Date: Tuesday, September 13 2005
Topic:


The Hill Times, September 12th, 2005
NEWS STORY

By F. Abbas Rana

Canada should focus on relief, not trade disputes: Lib. Grafstein

Canadian legislators should focus on demonstrating goodwill to the U.S., but some say it won't change softwood lumber dispute.
Canadians should devote all efforts to helping out the U.S. in any way they can to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and shouldn't talk about any trade irritants right now, says the co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group.

"This is not the best time to talk about trade disputes. They [US administration] are preoccupied with this tragedy. Now is the time to provide help to our neighbour," said Liberal Sen. Jerry Grafstein (Metro Toronto, Ont.).


Sen. Grafstein, who earlier criticized his own government's efforts to the U.S., now said he is satisfied with the Canadian response.

Sen. Grafstein, who played a key public role in showing Canada's support for the U.S. after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said he is again working on two major projects to demonstrate Canadian support for Americans but declined to give out details saying that he's still in the process of finalizing the details.

Sen. Grafstein said that the relief effort that Canada is undertaking will generate goodwill, adding that in the long-term it will be helpful in resolving the trade disputes such as the softwood lumber.

But Liberal MP Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine, Que.), who is also Parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Paul Martin (LaSalle-Émard, Que.) with special emphasis on Canada-U.S. relations, said that although it's imperative to help the U.S. in their hour of need, it's unlikely that the goodwill generated by Canada will be of any help to resolve this dispute.

"Put it this way, it certainly won't hurt, that's probably the most positive thing that I can say. I can't predict that all of a sudden the Americans, when they are ready to sit down and start talking about this particular issue, that they'll suddenly say, 'You Canadians were right all along. Here's your $5-billion and we're going to take steps to make sure that this kind of thing can't happen again,'" said Ms. Jennings.


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