The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.
Flin Flon MP Bev Desjarlais believes her constituency and the country as a whole would be better served if George W. Bush is defeated in tomorrow's U.S. presidential election. She accuses the Bush administration of unfair trade policies toward Canada and hopes the president's challenger, Sen. John Kerry, succeeds in his bid for the White House. "I don't think that the present government in the U.S. has been extremely favourable to Canada, certainly with trade," said the New Democrat. To back up her argument, Desjarlais spoke of U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber, the impact of which has been felt on the timber industry within her riding. She also referenced the American ban on most Canadian beef, an action the U.S. took in response to a single case of BSE, or Mad Cow disease, discovered in Alberta in May 2003. "The BSE situation, I think, is without question the most unjust in the sense that there was one (affected) animal that never ever made it to the shelves, never ever went to the public," said the MP, "and the U.S. has failed to open the borders. I think it's been done purely to benefit their industry, and it shows that this whole idea of free trade is not something they're committed to unless it's going to benefit them." Any American policies that hurt Canada, Desjarlais said, negatively influence the Churchill Riding because "anything that impacts Canada impacts the whole constituency." While there is a general perception that Sen. Kerry is more of an economic protectionist than President Bush, Desjarlais doesn't agree. "I tend to think that wouldn't be the case" if Sen. Kerry is elected, she said, adding that she believes the senator would employ a more cooperative approach. Desjarlais' disappointment with the Bush administration goes beyond trade and into matters of privacy. She said the president's security policies have hindered Canadians' cross-border travel and allowed investigators to view the personal information of visitors. Despite her strong feelings, the MP is not overly confident that Sen. Kerry will come out on top when a closely-divided American electorate heads to the polls. "I know as Canadians we're not supposed to outrightly take sides in someone else's politics, but we all have our favourites," she said. "I would like to see a change. If not, I think we're going to be in a situation where we're going to have more of the same."1/11/04