A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
- Congress is wrapping up its last week of August recess. Members are due back in session September 5.
- Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath is a nightmare of truly epic proportions. Historic flooding has brought record rainfall levels with more than 51 inches of rain in some areas of Texas, flooding even evacuation shelters. And yet, the fiercest storm in modern US history has proved no match for the indomitable, huge-hearted spirit of the great state of Texas. The stories of rescue, redemption and grace are overwhelming. The super storm that turned into a tropical storm before it left the area could be the costliest natural disaster in US history with a potential price tag of $160 billion – this is equal to the combined cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and represents a 0.8% economic hit to the gross national product, according to AccuWeather. Experts predict parts of Houston, which is the fourth largest city in the US, will be uninhabitable for weeks – and maybe even months – because of extensive water and mold damage as well as disease-ridden water. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump saw the damage firsthand with visits to Corpus Christi and Austin Tuesday afternoon. The President was met by cheering crowds as well as press coverage that mocked everything from the shoes the First Lady wore as she boarded Air Force One to critiques that he failed to display the kind of “Bill Clinton lip-biting empathy” appreciated by the pundits at CNN. The same press that derided President George W. Bush’s response to Katrina as coming too late, also accused President Trump of going “too soon” to Texas, though the President was careful to avoid Houston and the hardest hit areas so as not to impede rescue operations. Vice President Mike Pence is in Texas today.
- US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced Monday that he will postpone the final decision in the investigations of anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on softwood lumber from Canada until mid-November. A decision on the issue had been expected on September 6.
Still Speaking Softwood
Speaking of softwood, your former US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, was in Washington this week (as usual). But this week he was joined by New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant where the two met with Commerce Secretary Ross Tuesday to talk softwood lumber.
Well informed Carolina-Canada Connections readers know that Wilkins is New Brunswick’s special envoy on the softwood lumber file. He and Premier Gallant are fighting to ensure New Brunswick remains exempt from hefty duties on softwood lumber exports to the United States.
It’s the second time in two months that Gallant and Wilkins have met wet with Secretary Ross to make New Brunswick’s case on the softwood lumber file.
Wilkins with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington, DC this week.
Last week, Wilkins met with Canada’s Ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, and other provincial envoys engaging on softwood including David Emerson representing British Columbia; Jim Peterson representing Ontario; Raymond Chrétien representing Quebec, and Gary Doerrepresenting Alberta. Following the meeting at the picturesque Canadian embassy in DC, the leaders held a news conference to discuss the critical importance of promptly reaching a new SLA deal.
David Wilkins has once again been chosen to be recognized in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The distinction comes for Wilkins’ work in the practice areas of Government Relations Practice and International Trade and Finance Law. Wilkins has been recognized by his peers as a top attorney frequently since 1989.
Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based on a rigorous peer-review survey comprising more than seven million confidential evaluations by attorneys. It is regarded as the most credible measure of legal integrity and distinction in the US.
Kick-Off With Kent
There’s no turning back now, sports fans. For the next four months (and Clemson fans are hoping we are still talking into next year) it’s college football season and Wilkins’ Clemson Tigers are starting off at home this Saturday with a noon kick-off against Kent State.
Last year’s reigning national champions are currently ranked #5 in the country and are fired up and ready to defend their title Heaven knows, you will be reading ALL about Wilkins’ favorite team from here until the last play in the last second of the last game. (Editor’s note: Unless, and as always, of course, they lose. Then all y’all know it is our strict editorial policy to act like said game never happened.)
They Said What?
- “‘We've got two kids with Down syndrome, a three legged dog, and a pig. All of whom will be freaked out,’ I told the firefighter. ‘Perfect!’ He replied…comic relief was abundant,” – Social media post of Lisa Eicher, a former contestant on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, whose family was saved as floodwaters engulfed her home near Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. She documented the often hilarious, poignant and stressful rescue of her family — including Penny the Pig and their three-legged dog— by local firefighters on Instagram.
- "He did not offer any hugs. He did not offer much hope. He talked about businesses more than individual people. He did not respond or react to that very emotional response from the chief of police in Houston about one of the officers dying here. It was definitely a test of presidential leadership, the first moment here, but there is no sudden gratification from something like this. This challenge of major magnitude here. This is something that the president will be graded on indeed for weeks, months, perhaps years to come here,” – CNN’s Jeff Zeleny critiquing President Trump’s performance during his visit to hurricane ravaged Texas this week.
- “Of course, they looked the other way in 2016 when former President Obama continued to play golf at Martha’s Vineyard as if nothing were happening during the Baton Rouge flooding…Surely, the media will go fishing in the floods for a million ways to blame Trump, it is heartwarming to know that during a devastating time such as this we have a president who cares. Obama found time to pull away from Martha’s Vineyard to attend a posh Hillary fundraiser, but was too busy to be comforter-in-chief in Baton Rouge…As a senator, he condemned Bush as the ‘president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground to provide comfort and aid…’At least Bush showed up. And Trump too…Unlike the guy whom leftists believed walked on water and who promised on his watch the planet would heal and the waters would recede. Looking at Houston right now, it obviously didn’t,” – Nationally syndicated columnist Susan Stamper Brown this week critiquing the media’s hurricane coverage.
- “We walked through four feet of water to get food on the first day. Yeah, that’s a lot of sh--. But y’all sit here, y’all trying to interview people during their worst times – like that’s not the smartest thing to do. Like people are really breaking down and y’all sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the f--- is wrong with us. And you really trying to understand with the microphone still in my face? With me shivering cold, with my kids wet, and you still putting the microphone in my face,” – Woman rescued from Hurricane Harvey after 36 hours blasting a CNN reporter live on-air for trying to interview her while she was with her children.
- “It was a God wink,” – South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan at his annual barbecue fundraiser in Anderson, SC on Monday evening crediting God with saving his life June 14 when a gunman who had volunteered for former Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sandersand was specifically targeting Republican and conservative legislators opened fire on the group, critically wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and leaving several others injured. Duncan left the field shortly before gunfire erupted, and later told police the gunman asked him if the group practicing on the field were Republicans or Democrats before firing on the Republicans.