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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How about "Buy Canadian"?

I'm not terribly political. But when it comes to being fair, I can get that way. You've heard me on this blog when I think the Canadian government is being unfair in some way on the immigration front. Well now that I'm on my way to becoming a Canadian citizen, I think it's important to speak out on fairness for our country in other areas. Today, that's "free trade".

The United States has implemented "Buy American" programs at the federal level. What that means is that certain projects funded by federal tax dollars are constricted in the use of that money when it comes to securing things like materials. When it's an infrastructure project, that means things like steel.

Two cases that have come up recently were a bridge project in Colorado that, when the government discovered that the U.S.-owned company had used steel in the bridge that had been forged and formed in Canada, they wanted the bridge torn town and rebuilt with only American steel: And now, a ferry terminal rebuild IN CANADA (for the State of Alaska that is leasing the terminal from the city of Prince Rupert) will not be allowed to use any Canadian steel in its construction.

To encourage tax dollars in your own country to be spent in your own country is well and good, but for a multi-national (like the first situation above) not to be able to use its own products because they were made in Canada is odd (they did receive permission ultimately, and the bridge was not torn down). And now - a construction project in Canada cannot be built with any Canadian materials? That is just wrong.

U.S. companies bid on and win contracts for infrastructure projects in Canada. U.S. companies build roads and bridges and buildings here. I think the time has come for a "Buy Canadian" program. A program where our tax dollars are spent in this country first. Where Canadian companies get Canadian-funded jobs. Where we encourage the development of business to take advantage of that spending. That's a Canadian Action Plan I could get behind!

Let's stand up for our own country for a change. I'm not talking about being protectionist - just leveling the playing field (like NAFTA was supposed to do, right?). If the policy is good enough to our neighbours across the border, it should be good enough for us too.    

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