Tit for tat
Sean over at Polspy suggests that in the face of the American's flat out refusal to let live Canadian cattle back into the States after the BES alarm it might be time to play a bit of hardball,
1. Tie beef exports to something that both individual Americans and their leaders care about (hint: OIL and NATURAL GAS)...With the price of oil hovering around $45/barrel, there’s no better time to pull this particular lever with the Americans.
15% of the world’s proven recoverable oil reserves sit in Alberta alone. Alberta also supplies approximately 25% of the United States’ natural gas needs. On top of this, we have massive reserves of methane coal.
Believe me, if Alberta decides to get pissy about tying beef (and lumber) exports to energy exports, we’ll have the complete and undivided attention of our southern neighbours.
And, as the Marines are occupied elsewhere...But it is not at all a bad idea. Implementation would, however, ideally come at the federal level. Basically impose a, say, two dollar a barrel "Beef compensation" levy on every barrel of oil exported to nations which refuse to allow the import of Canadian beef. (And work a similar deal for the softwood lumber biz.)
Now, will it happen? Not a chance and not because of the Marines (who could spare a platoon or two to take on the restless Northerners if need be.) It will not happen because there are really big industries back East which are fully integrated into the American economy. Linkage is two way and bumping up the cost of gas would be met with , to take an example, really close inspections of every semi crossing into Detroit from Windsor. Want to see the Canadian autoparts industry howl. Try that for a week.
In fact American trade policy can be influenced by a Canadian government committed to maintaining good relations with our friend and neighbour. Playing the lapdog to the French in the run up to Iraq won us no friends in the States save Michael Moore.
It might be a dandy idea to actually go to the US and say, "Hey, we have the oil deposits which, at $45.00 a barrel make economic sense." We want to ensure North American energy independence. Let's talk. And, by the way, about the beef beef - we can't really do the deal until we can solve that issue." I expect the Americans would get the message.