Canada: Softwood deal signed, BQ supports

This week, Canadian and US trade officials formally signed an agreement to resolve the longstanding dispute over softwood lumber. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who heads a Conservative minority government, had promised to make the legislation a matter of confidence. With the Bloc Quebecois announcing that it supports the deal, the government–which has numerically the shakiest parliamentary support of any minority government in Canada’s history–should survive, as the Tories and BQ combined have a majority of seats.

BQ leader Gilles Duceppe said:

I’ve consulted all the people involved in this dispute. It was the same answer everywhere. They don’t feel it is a good agreement but they just don’t have the choice.

So, what concessions did the BQ extract on this or other issues? Or was it simply a case of fearing a new election, given how much the Conservatives cut into former BQ support in the last one, in January?

0 thoughts on “Canada: Softwood deal signed, BQ supports

  1. I don’t know the answer to your question, but the BQ saved the Liberals from a very difficult dilemma. They certainly don’t want an election, but this was not a good fight for them to miss.

  2. All I know is the US is doing a damn good job convincing Canada that it doesn’t have friendly intentions. BC is already pissed over softwood. Montreal, Windsor and other border areas are going to be hit hard when the US starts demanding passports at the border in January. And soon there will be higher “security fees” on flights and other transport across the border.

    I should note that I’m not exactly happy with the stunts Canada pulls, either–especially since I’m a dual citizen. But lately it feels like the American government is trying its damnedest to make Jack Layton’s “Blame America!” strategy more and more popular. If there was an election now, I suspect the NDP might just take a big chunk of support from the Liberals.

    PS: To keep on topic, Harper’s position on Israel/Lebanon has really cut into his support in Quebec. I think the BQ would do just fine.

  3. The govt survives for now, but the Bloc’s support on the softwood lumber deal doesn’t preclude its opposition later. Harper can’t count on Quebec’s support for a widening war in Afghanistan.

    I think all parties know this is not the time for an election, so everyone is holding off.

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