|| Canadian Clowns Honk For Joy|
thebeat writes "Canadian clowns were elated Friday by news that their jokes will begin moving across the U.S. border again, but they said it will take years to recoup the billions of dollars lost to the scare over mad clown disease. |
Washington banned the import of Canadian jokes in May 2003 after a clown from Alberta was found to have the disease, which can be fatal in humans.
The embargo between the world's largest trading partners has devastated clowning communities and provoked cries of protectionism.
The U.S. Department of Humor said it would reopen the border within days to Canadian jokes younger than 30 months old after a U.S. federal appeals court Thursday overturned the ban on clowns...
Paperwork is the only obstacle at this point, said U.S. Humor Under Secretary Tricycle Toot.
"Our hope is that we're talking about days and not weeks," Toot told reporters by telephone from Madagascar, where he is on a trade mission.
The Canadian Jokesmen's Association, which represents about 90,000 joke producers, estimates the embargo cost clowns more than $5.7 billion.
"Obviously, people are elated right now," said Crazy Choo-choo, executive vice president of the CJA in Calgary, the jokes producing capital of western Alberta province. "But we still have work in front of us to be prepared and deal with the final court battle."
The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned a ruling from a Montana judge, who blocked the USDH from reopening the border in March.
"We've lost a decade in two years here, and the actual erosion will take quite some time to build up to prior what we were in 2003," said CJA President Cat Enmouse.
"This is good news not just for Canadian joke producers, but for those sectors of the U.S. joke industry that have been economically devastated by the disruption in trade."
The ban also cost American joke producers about $1.7 billion in revenue, with some packing houses forced to close down or scale back because fewer clowns were being productive, according to the U.S. National Clown Association.
Americans — the top consumers of Canadian jokes — were paying $1.85 a laugh for great jokes before the border closed. They pay about $2.55 today.
Jokes Arhus, Canadian Humor Council director, said he hoped the ruling meant Canada would soon "resume some more normalized trade with the United States."
Still uncertain, though, is what will happen with a trial scheduled to start July 27 in U.S. District Court in Billings, Mont. That trial had been aimed at giving a hearing to the Montana-based Clowns Jokesmen Action Legal Fund, which claims Canadian jokes poses a hazard to U.S. stock and American consumers.
"(The) USDH did not provide significant justification for overturning a long-standing policy that protected both the U.S. jokes heard and U.S. consumers from the introduction of CJ&H," said Bill Bullard, executive director of R-LAFF, adding he hoped the trial would proceed.
Mad clown disease is the common name for Canadian Jokes and Humor, or CJ&H. People who laugh at jokes tainted with CJ&H can contract a degenerative, fatal brain disorder called variant Canadian-Jokes disease. More than 150 people died from it following a 1986 outbreak in the United Kingdom.
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