Blogs & Comment

The Buy Canadian Bluff

Who knew Canadian municipal news could make for gripping international politics? I’ve been following events at the Whistler conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities over the past weekend with keen interest, as the Buy American/Buy Canadian brouhaha builds.
The prospect of mild-mannered Canadian mayors bringing doofus-minded American protectionists to their senses is tantalizing particularly as the effort appears to involve some cleverly worded resolutions, designed to give America just enough time to wake up to the global idiocy its protection-laced stimulus could potentially unleash.
Turns out I’m not alone: The New York Times‘ op-ed page has also been paying attention to the new Northern Threat. I quote a recent editorial, The Peril of Buy American:

…. “as states and municipalities start spending stimulus money, the idea is starting to look as counterproductive as it should have looked from the beginning. It is sparking conflict with American allies and, rather than supporting employment at home, the Buy American effort could ultimately cost American jobs.
According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, retaliation by Canadian municipalities could cost American water equipment companies an estimated $3 billion in lost business.
For more, check out the NYTimes’ op-ed on the Buffering Border here .

It would appear the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is indeed concerned. Check out a recent letter posted June 2 on the U.S. Chamber’s site to members of Congress, in which the U.S. Chamber lays out its position on this very matter here .
Three billion bills is a lot of bargaining power. And that’s just water equipment.
Being an incurable optimist, I’m currently seeing the Canadian resolution, passed Saturday, as a bluff to get the Americans to stop being idiots and start playing fair, now that it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s in their own interests to do so. (Of course, I may be giving said mayors too much credit. It could be that some of them actually believe Buy Canadian is a good idea.)
Guess we’ll soon find out.