An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IN THE DYING DAYS of his presidency, the Obama administration was busy. Not all of it was good busy.
For example, he commuted the 35-year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, who leaked thousands of military reports and State Department documents. Manning had served only seven years.
He poked Israel with a stick at the United Nations by abstaining from a Security Council vote condemning Israel over its settlement policy.
And, of course, he sanctioned Russia over allegations that Vladimir Putin had conspired to influence the outcome of the U.S. election.
Whatever you think of these decisions, they certainly weren’t aimed at being tough on traitors, watching the backs of friends, or easing tensions with enemies.
Oh, yeah, and one other thing — in the scheme of international politics it’s not a headline maker, but to us who live next door, it irks no end. Obama, the guy who made such a big deal out of U.S. friendship with Canada when he entertained Justin Trudeau on a state visit such a short time ago, turned around and shafted us.
He launched a World Trade Organization challenge against B.C.’s policy on wine in grocery stores. Under current law, U.S. wine can’t be sold on grocery store shelves, though it can be sold in grocery stores that have an area sectioned off as a store-within-a-store. According to the Americans, this does harm to U.S. wine producers.
U.S. trade representative Michael Froman says B.C.’s practices undermine fair competition.
“When U.S. wine producers have a fair shot at competing on a level playing field, they can compete and win in markets around the globe. The discriminatory regulations implemented by B.C. intentionally undermine free and fair competition, and appear to breach Canada’s commitments as a WTO member. Canada and all Canadian provinces, including B.C., must play by the rules.”
— Michael Froman, U.S. trade representative.
Shirley Bond, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Etc., said the province will defend against the challenge. “The B.C. government is confident that we are complying with B.C.’s and Canada’s international trade obligations.”
She said 1,100 liquor stores sell imported alcohol, up from 344 in 1987.
But that didn’t matter to Obama, who launched 26 trade-enforcement actions at the WTO during his eight years in office, and won them all.
And here we were worried about Donald Trump. Thanks for nothing, Barack.