Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dear Uncle Sam

Bending over backwards to pick the pocket of a friend?
We're not feeling your love up here these days.  Is it really necessary to charge all Canadians traveling to the U.S. by air or boat an additional $5.50 tax?  Apparently your new free trade deal signed with Colombia "prohibits tariff exemptions for travellers from Canada".  What has Colombia got to do with our relationship, old friend?  The optics of this little slap in the face look pretty bad to our social circle - after all, you have no greater friend and ally than we Canucks. The National Post headline reads: "U.S. can't pay debts, wants Canadians to do it for them at $5.50 a pop."  First your "Buy American" plan, then all the ridiculous B.S. about our "dirty oil", followed by gutless delays on the Keystone pipeline project (you know you need both the oil and the pipeline to get it there), and now this little "provocative insult", as it has been called.  Even your own ambassador to Canada seems embarrassed by it, mon ami.  David Jacobson urged Canadians not to take the fee "to heart", as he defended the Obama administration's decision to impose it.  "The elimination of the exemption was necessitated by the budget situation in my country," he said.  So it really has nothing to do with Colombia, does it?  We all know that times are tough down there, ole buddy, but this naked little money grab is just plain disappointing.  With about 7 million Canadians flying to the U.S. a year, the new tax is expected to raise little more than $100 million a year.  You see, it's not the lousy $5.50.  (What's with the fifty cents anyway, are you trying to repatriate all the precious metal in your quarters?  Hello, there hasn't been any in there for awhile now.)  It's the principle of the thing.  You just don't pick the pocket of a friend.

The Good News:  Canadian soldiers are gradually returning from Afghanistan.