Posted by Ian:
Earlier this year a trade unionist spokesman appeared before St. Thomas council urging them to support a Buy Canadian purchasing agenda. Our elected officials wisely declined and here is why such a protectionist stance is dangerous.
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.
Some 2,500 years ago, fable author Aesop opined that, “Persuasion is often more effectual than force.” It is an idea the current provincial government has decided holds no place, at least when it comes to matters it feels are important.
The list of areas where the government has chosen to exert the force of law over the persuasion of education is becoming legion, including but not limited to smoking, cellphone usage and, most importantly, wind power.
Ontario Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman reinforced the position Monday.
“We passed a law, and the law does not create an opportunity for municipalities to resist these projects just because they may have a concern,” he said.
On the surface, Smitherman’s comment makes sense; after all we can’t have people just running around breaking laws they don’t agree with. Otherwise you will start having black people riding in the front of buses, women voting and native people asking for land back that our forefathers stole from them.
The organization representing Canada’s municipalities is trying to get out in front of the issue of potential budget cuts, insisting that a ballooning federal deficit must not be made up on the backs of cities and towns.
The concerns come as lobbying groups and organizations get accustomed to a deficit the government announced last week would hit $50-billion this year – $16-billion more than previously predicted.
Jean Perrault, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, told The Globe and Mail in an interview Wednesday that the shortfall was leading to increasing concerns that Ottawa would cut spending on municipalities.