Channel 19

Todd Dills

North of the border

| September 15, 2008

In echoes of the McCain/Obama/Clinton spat over the idea of a diesel tax holiday for the summer months — long dropped from the political grandstanding in the U.S. presidential contest due largely, we presume, to Mother Nature and her inexorable charge toward autumn — the Canadian diesel tax has entered the debate between candidates for that nation’s highest office. While current Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, of the Canadian Conservative party, goes farther than his American conservative counterparts in promising a carte blanche half-price cut in the 4-cent per liter tax, Liberal challenger Stephane Dion sounds very much like Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his denunciation of what Dion sees as political pandering. That’s right, Dion called the cut a “gimmick.”

And while we’re on the subject of greater North America, the U.S. House voted last week to ax the cross-border U.S./Mexico trucking demonstration program, aimed at reciprocity in cross-border transportation; we’ll be waiting on the Senate for a while, likely. And some conspiracy-theory-prone commentators were proclaiming tomorrow, Sept. 16, as the day of the “Great North American Phone-In.” Tom DeWeese, writing at his American Policy Center site, called for citizens to phone their national governments to protest what he and others see as a drive toward a union of the three North American nations. One of the chief elements of his evidence for this is the so-called “NAFTA Superhighway,” which officials are quick to say doesn’t exist and which DeWeese sees the beginnings of in the state-level Trans-Texas Corridor project currently aimed at relieving highway congestion in Texas. The “NAFTA Superhighway,” of course, is rumored to be a megaroute connecting Mexico and Canada. Now, we’re not sure what the problem with a highway connecting Mexico and Canada is — last time we checked, I-5 was laid down and on the ground, if potholed in areas…

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