Stephen Harper's Trip Yields Pandas, Lumber Debate


Stephen Harper (right) and Wen Jiabao (left) inspect the People's Army, in training for the G20 Summit in Mexico this June.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was present in Guangzhou, China for the unveiling of a placard memorializing the jobs lost in the Chinese Lumber Industry as China increases its imports of Canadian Softwood lumber.

At the ceremony, Prime Minister Harper remarked on the significance of the message. "As we move forward, let's not think of it as jobs lost by Chinese workers to Canadians, but as sacrifices on behalf of a nation of impoverished billions of people, for the security and growth of a nation of 33 million well-fed, housed and employed people."

A Mother asks, "how many more jobs will be shipped overseas...to Canada!"

The stop is part of the Prime Minister's nearly week-long trip to strengthen trade relations with China.

Exports of lumber to China have surpassed the United States, a boom to the Canadian Lumber market that now employs over 10,000 in British Columbia's Forestry Industry. Those are jobs that many Chinese are saying, belong in China.

"For too long, Canadian businesses have been poaching manual labor that belongs in China," explains Ao Meng Kuo, a Chinese lumber jack in Jiangsu Province.

"The same thing happened with all the best railroad jobs, they took them all to Canada; my great grandfather worked for 75 cents a day to build that damn Pacific Railway!"

Chinese Head Tax, can't get to build track 9 without a ticket.

Also on the agenda is a foreign bear exchange-program whereby Canada receives 2 Pandas for every Polar Bear sold in China. The Canadian Minister for the Environment cites Canada's concern over a "growing disparity" between populations of the two species in areas such as northern Xinjiang.

Environmentalist attribute the low number of Polar Bears in China to influences like food supply shortages and the fact that the iconic white bears are "only indigenous to the arctic, not China."

Stephen Harper is in Chongqing on Saturday to present Canadian Figure Skater Patrick Chan as a gesture of thanks for the Chinese Government's hospitality and for not bringing up anything to do with Tibet.

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