2017 cannot come soon enough

I am certainly relieved that 2017 is just around the corner

I don’t know about you, but I am certainly relieved that 2017 is just around the corner.

I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was a terrible year. We saw Brexit, the rise of the alt-right movement (which is a pretty name for white supremacists) around the world and, of course, we saw Donald Trump getting elected.

Locally we all realized that Burns Lake’s main economic driver – forestry – will face tough challenges ahead and we saw the hub model of service delivery for the family programs being dismantled in Burns Lake.

A few months after we found out that the annual allowable cut of our community forests would be greatly reduced in 2020, we heard that the U.S. lumber industry had petitioned its government to launch trade litigation against Canada. What this means is that the negative impact we feared our local mills would suffer come much earlier than we all expected.

Since the U.S. remains B.C.’s largest lumber customer, with anti-trade crusader Donald Trump now elected, the U.S. market is no longer a safe bet.

But it’s not all doom and gloom (or at least I hope not). According to minister of international trade Chrystia Freeland, this wave of protectionism could present an opportunity for Canada. In fact, she said this could be the best time to attract foreign investment.

“We are the country today that is most clearly bucking the trend,” Freeland told members of the Toronto Region Board of Trade a few weeks ago. “We believe that now is a tremendous moment to go out and pitch Canada as the best place in the world for foreign investment.”

Last October, prime minister Justin Trudeau signed the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA) – a progressive free trade agreement which covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-European Union trade in order to eliminate or reduce barriers. Once CETA is fully implemented, the European Union will have eliminated tariffs on 99 per cent of its tariff lines.

Freeland has referred to CETA “as a way for Canada and Europe to push back against the anti-globalization sentiment and to show that a progressive trade agreement can be done.”

The federal government says CETA is by far Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative – deeper in ambition and broader in scope than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As Trump has repeatedly stated that if elected he would renegotiate NAFTA, it’s a relief to know that Canada is exploring other markets.

Meanwhile B.C. government and forest industry have been marketing B.C. wood products in Asia. Forests minister Steve Thomson led a trade mission to Japan and China in late November which included Hampton Affiliates CEO Steve Zika.

What I expected in 2017 is that Canada will rise above this wave of protectionism and white supremacists to become a global leader, as it’s already been happening. Maybe this terrifying scenario presents an opportunity for Canada after all.


Just Posted

Residents raise concern over cannabis bylaw bid

Editor’s note: this story has been revised for clarity. Burns Lake residents… Continue reading

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

Ex-Burns Lake resident wanted for murder

Police are searching for a former resident of Burns Lake who is… Continue reading

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

Most Read