It's a single word that can mean so much in the wonderful world of big business and political manipulations.
A current stance being taken by British Columbia's Premier Christy Clark is being seen as having more than a little politics attached to the demand that B.C. obtain “a fair share” of royalties being paid to Alberta based producers who want to send oilsands bitumen crude through B.C. to Kitamat where it can be loaded onto cargo ships bound for Asia. Apparently the previous world order of simply receiving pipeline fees, insurances and penalties isn't going to be enough for the government on whose land the pipeline will cross. They want more environmental danger pay.
So Clark has made her point.
The challenge will undoubtably go out for a corresponding “fee” to be paid to provinces that handle British Columbia's lumber shipments across country or perhaps their fruit and wine products that are sold eastward.
In other words, the whole thing could turn messy, if it hasn't already.
While we argue internally about the tit-for-tat agreements concerning oil, we learn that China's largest federally owned oil company is wanting to buy Nexen, one of Canada's proud oil and natural gas producers. They promise they will retain Canadian management, or Canadian style administration, will keep the company listed on the North American stock exchanges and generally operate the Canadian way, except in actual ownership.
With that in mind, Ralph Goodale, Saskatchewan's lone Liberal MP, makes the point ... if China's big corporations are going to be allowed to buy Canada's big corporations, then we will require reciprocation. Canadians and their corporations must achieve the right to purchase China's major operations, perhaps their industry leading rare earth mineral holdings.
If China wants to play they game, they must play by the long held international rules. You can't protect on one side and shout for free market conditions on the other side.
This brings us to the recently completed dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board into what is now simply another grain trader called the CWB. Politicians created it in support of Western Canadian farmers who required protection at the time. A monopoly on three grain products ensued. It's now gone.
So that then means that Canada's other supply management system will also have to go. No more grain selling monopoly to use nationally or internationally, then say goodbye to dairy and poultry managed contracts and protectionist policies crafted by governments to supposedly protect egg, poultry and dairy producers. If grain needs to flow freely, so does milk.
With the wheat board gone, Canada's government now has a legitimate trading argument to make with its American counterparts in calling for an end to subsidized farming in the U.S. The fact that our politicians blinked first on this international front will make the bargaining tougher, but no less real.
You want something we have? Then what do you offer in return?
It's funny how sometimes our big business and political brain trusts don't understand the fundamentals of their own professions.It's a give and take situation every round. This isn't charity at work here, it's pure business and pure politics at play and there is no need for Canada to play the good guy. The only goodness to be sought is one that labels us as fair and honest traders ... not brokers ... traders, whether it's in the inter-provincial or international market.
We'll sell you some or all of what you may want, but the game works both ways, otherwise no deal.
Certainly negotiations are more complicated and complex than that, but the simple truth remains. You trade honestly and fairly with us, you can make a deal. You want to cloudy the waters with future promises and vague claims of fairness? Sorry, go find another sucker.