The recent announcement by U.S. president Barrack Obama that his jobs creation bill will include a “Buy American” clause brought an immediate response from the Canadian government.
From some reason Canadian politicians and business leaders think any American taxpayer money spent towards turning that country’s economy around should be up for grabs to companies north of the border.
That struck me as absurd.
In fact, I’m wondering why the Canadian government didn’t enforce the same clause with its Economic Action Plan.
It only makes sense that if they use our money to stimulate the economy; the only appropriate thing to do is to make sure that money filters back to Canadian companies and workers.
While the world is getting smaller because of technology and corporations have gone global, there’s no denying that supporting your own economy by using homegrown goods has a positive impact at the grassroots level.
It might not put a lot of money in shareholders’ pockets but the small storeowner might be able to make ends meet.
However, once again I’m befuddled by how our leaders think and can only equate the scenario to my day-to-day life.
I look off my deck and, although I see my small, struggling garden bearing a few good meals, I simply have to gaze at my neighbour’s cornucopia of vegetables to know that we can all be more self-sufficient right in our own backyard.
While that garden would make the Jolly Green Giant green with envy, as do many gardens in Greater Trail, anything we can make on our own turf should be our first option.
The local farmers’ markets and garden tours prove that the 100-mile diet is possible and well worth shooting for.
I’m lucky enough that my neighbour’s abundance is my good fortune LOL (that’s not the text version of “laugh out loud” but my own symbol for “lucky overflow location”) and there’s always more than enough to share.
Obviously we can’t survive completely on things made or grown within a 100-mile radius, but I still agree with the U.S. notion that its stimulus money should go to American companies and turn the fortunes of their employees around.
Why hasn’t Canada done that?
Why hasn’t our money, which the government has abundantly used, come with a condition that all of it goes back to us in one form or another?
I applaud the U.S. idea that the best way to get the economy going is to spend the money at home.
Building a bridge should not only provide work for the labourers and equipment operators on site but even the smallest bolt required should be bought in the U.S. and trickle funds back to Americans’ pockets. There’s no way a bolt company in Ontario should cash in on American tax money just like Americans shouldn’t line their pockets with our tax money.
It’s also nice, closer to home, that projects like the Waneta Dam put an emphasis on flowing money back into the local economy with employment and purchases. Imagine our outrage if all the jobs at the dam went to Americans.
Obviously the flow of goods between the two countries is an integral part of our economy and daily life. But times have changed and conditions have changed so the thinking has to change.
The old system has hit a road block and leaders have to realize the status quo isn’t working right now. With countries all around the world struggling with their own economies and employment woes, the correct move should always be to look after its own citizens first.
We still need trading partners and we still need international commerce.
But getting your own house in order should be a prerequisite for any government.
I see my neighbour nurture and tend the garden until there is enough at harvest time to share. It doesn’t help anyone if I reach over the fence and gather up the sprouts before they have blossomed.
And that’s why I don’t understand the knee-jerk reaction from Canadian politicians worried about the American policy.
Let the U.S. tend to its garden, just like we should tend to ours.
Allow gardens to flourish and the sharing will certainly follow.