Buy American retaliation will hurt everyone: Stockwell Day

OTTAWA — Retaliating against U.S. states and cities for adopting Buy American measures is like throwing a grenade in a confined space, says Trade Minister Stockwell Day.

OTTAWA — Retaliating against U.S. states and cities for adopting Buy American measures is like throwing a grenade in a confined space, says Trade Minister Stockwell Day.

“Everyone gets hurt,” Day told a Canadian Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday.

Day said he was concerned to hear a group of Canadian municipalities want to bar companies in protectionist countries from bidding on procurement contracts in Canada.

Stories are emerging from across the country about Canadian businesses shut out of contracts because of local or state-level protectionist policies — and frustration is rising about the government’s reaction to the problem.

The resolution is coming before the annual general meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities this week.

In Quebec City, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he wants governments to look at avoiding “creeping protectionism” when it comes to national purchasing policies.

“In a time where we’re trying to keep borders open internationally I do think that the proliferation of domestic preferences in some national government procurement is really problematic,” he said at a news conference.

“It is part of creeping protectionism, not just in the United States but elsewhere that we must avoid to ensure a global recovery.”

The prime minister mentioned the Buy American policy of U.S. President Barack Obama’s government but did not single out the United States.

Day, meanwhile, said he would prefer to continue exerting pressure on different levels of the U.S. government.

Although Obama has spoken out against protectionism, and had a pro-free-trade clause inserted into the stimulus package earlier this year, Buy American measures are still being adopted throughout the United States.

“We would certainly be encouraged if he would take some practical means to enforce that at the congressional level,” Day said.

“And I’m hoping that our colleagues at the congressional level will understand that if they really want to protect their workers and their jobs, the way to do that is to open up doors of opportunity, not close them.”

But there are indications that raising the stick of retaliation is already making waves.

The New York Times ran an editorial Wednesday specifically noting that some Canadian municipalities were threatening action.

It also criticized Obama for not taking more decisive action against protectionist measures that keep popping up.

The Mexican government captured the Obama administration’s attention when it slapped staggering tariffs on certain goods after Mexican trucks were restricted from transporting goods deep into the United States.

Canada’s major business groups, such as the chamber and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, are pushing the idea of a new free-trade deal with the United States specifically on procurement.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read