February 6/06 6:41 am - New Federal Cabinet Impact on Cycling?
Posted by Editor on 02/6/06
Bernier Becomes Minister of Industry
Maxime Bernier has become the new Minister of Industry for the federal government of Stephen Harper, which was sworn in today. Bernier is of particular interest to the cycling community because he represents the riding of Beauce, which encompasses the headquarters and factory of Procycle.
Procycle was one of two domestic Canadian manufacturers (the other is Raleigh Canada) which are pushing for the implementation of Global Safeguard Recommendations from the CITT (Canadian international Trade Tribunal) to provide protection for their manufacturing operations. The Recommendations, if implemented, would mean a tariff of 30% on all bicycles imported (with the exception of the USA and Mexico) with an FOB value on or below $225 Canadian. According to various importers, this would include bicycles with a retail value as high as $800-$1000.
The decision will theoretically come from the Minister of Finance (although, it can be expected that numerous interested parties will be involved), who is Jim Flaherty, a former Minister of Finance for the Mike Harris government in Ontario.
The new government can implement, modify or reject the Recommendations. Considerable lobbying is expected on both sides of the issue and, while the Ted Menzies (the Conservative critic on International Trade prior to the election) issued a statement of opposition to the surtax before the election, he has publicly been more cautious since, saying that it will be a "difficult" decision.
COC Welcomes Appointment of Michael D. Chong as Minister for Sport
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) welcomed today's announcement by the new Federal Government of a senior Minister responsible for sport, and applauded its' appointment of Michael D. Chong as Minister for Sport.
"We have been advocating for the Federal Government to appoint a senior Minister for sport for quite some time, and we are very happy to see that with his actions today Prime Minister Harper has recognized how important sport is to Canadian culture", said Chris Rudge, Chief Executive Officer of the COC.
The COC also applauds Prime Minister Harper's choice of Minister Chong for the position of Minister of Sport. "Mr. Chong has professional experience in the world of sport, and will undoubtedly be an advocate for sport in Canada. We're looking forward to working with the Minister to ensure an ongoing commitment to increased federal funding of high performance sport for both winter and summer sports", said Rudge.
"It is an incredibly exciting time for sport in Canada, with the Canadian sport community united in its' focus on high performance results. In particular, we look forward to working with Minister Chong as we build towards podium success at the 2010 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Games in Vancouver, and as we launch our summer sport equivalent to Own the Podium after the Torino Games", said Rudge.
With the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and Vancouver 2010 only a few years away, the COC is calling on the federal government to provide ongoing, sustainable funding to help high performance athletes achieve international success. The COC looks forward to working with Minister Chong to advance the sport movement in Canada and bring Canada closer to the sport spending levels of our major international competitors.
Editor's Note: Minister Chong worked for the NHL as Chief Information Officer. His background is in Information Technology.