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The Good Shopper Blog

"Canadian pride may not rest on our sleeves, but it resides deeply in our hearts."

Steve Miller


25
Mar
2009
12:15:02

Buy where?

By / Par: Andrea Willowcat - St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba

Category / Catégorie: Canadians making waves

Canadians are concerned about the new protectionist stance in the buy American provision of the US stimulus bill. America's new bill already has Canadian steel mills on edge with several more industries curious of their fates as well. The bottom line is that this provision could potentially cause a ‘tit-for-tat' retaliation by other countries who could adopt the same policies causing global trade wars and impose a reintroduction of huge tariffs that NAFTA phased out. You may wonder why Canada hasn't implemented a similar provision; it is because the Canadian government adheres to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and World Trade Organization (WTO)?

On February 19th 2009 President Obama and Prime Minister Harper met in Ottawa for a news conference, you can read the transcript here. The leaders discussed many things that included the Buy American act and NAFTA, Obama assured to uphold his obligations to NAFTA and WTO and said this:

Now you didn't ask me about the "Buy American" provisions, but since it relates to our recovery package, let me just reiterate -- and I said this very clearly before the bill was passed and before I signed it -- that I think it was very important to make sure that any provisions that were there were consonant with our obligations under WTO and NAFTA.

He also stated:

I provided Prime Minister Harper an assurance that I want to grow trade and not contract it. And I don't think that there was anything in the recovery package that is adverse to that goal.

 
Prime Minister Harper also commented on the provisions:

On -- on the "Buy American" provisions -- and let's also be very clear, as well, that in both WTO and NAFTA, there are -- there are industries and there are ways in which and there are levels of government at which one can have domestic preferences and purchasing policies...So I think it's critical that the United States has been a leader for a long time in the goals of an open global economy. I think it's critical that that -- that that leadership continue. And I'm -- I'm quite confident that the United States will respect those obligations and continue to be a leader on the need for globalized trade.

Here at Buy Canadian First we always say "it's not about buying Canadian always, it's about buying Canadian first"; it's knowing and weighing your options. Shopping consciously in much the same way consumers are looking for eco-friendly products. 

I'm curious, if what Prime Minister Harper says is true, that these treaties have ‘domestic preferences and purchasing policies' then clearly some of the outsourcing practices conducted at the Government level doesn't make sense - Stephen Harper.

Why has 48 year old Grohmann Knives Limited lost its contract to supply the Canadian Military to a lesser quality non Canadian-made knife? Why has the Ontario Government's procurement office stopped buying their Ontario flags (of all things!!) manufactured by a Toronto company and instead purchased them from a foreign flag maker?

Shouldn't our Government be setting the example first (there's that word again) for all Canadians to be inspired by? Hopefully Harper's new economic action plan can look into the allowed ‘domestic preferences' and start practicing what it preaches. God knows our hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers could use the contracts!

Not that I want to turn this post into a rant line, but I'm asking you to leave a comment about how you feel about this and tell me if you know of other examples of such contradictions and lost contracts. Our Account Managers will then contact them and see how Buy Canadian First could help them.

Image source: pm.gc.ca


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