Iran is making lots of noise about closing the Strait of Hormuz, the vital international waterway that carries 17 million barrels of oil every day35 percent of the crude oil transported by sea. The control of the Persian Gulf region is in Irans hands, Iranian naval chief Habibollah Sayyari ominously warns. This follows news that the Iranian parliament is mulling legislation to block tanker traffic through the strait, which comes on the heels of Sayyaris boast late last year that closing the strait would be easier than drinking a glass of water.
The new border security agreement to be announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Barack Obama is badly needed and should bring some relief to Canadian traders, travelers, and tax payers. Harper has managed to convince his American counterpart that the past 10 years of increased border security and corresponding delays and bureaucracy -- border thickening -- has to stop and be reversed. Our governments are proposing to do this by streamlining how we process the coming and going of people and by streamlining unnecessary commercial regulations on the products we make together.
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Honolulu recently and announced Canada wants in on talks to create a proposed pan-Pacific free trade zone, other countries brought up our anti-free trade supply management boards. Specifically, they are opposed to Canadas participation because of our protectionist approach on eggs, chicken, turkey, and dairy products.
Despite 22 years of free trade with Americans, consumers in Canada regularly pay more compared to the U.S. price tag on similar items. That fact has finally come to the attention of Ottawa: Canadians are irritated when they see large price discrepancies on the exact same products being sold on different sides of the border, stated Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, this in his recent letter to the Senates Finance Committee.
I share their irritation, wrote Flaherty, as he requested the committee study the matter.