For years, we've been told the dictates of globalization, and the intrusive and prescriptive terms of free trade agreements in particular, are immutable, natural, and unquestionable. When workers were displaced by the migration of multinational capital toward more profitable jurisdictions, we were told there's nothing we can do about it except join the race to the bottom in a desperate attempt to hang onto our jobs. When investment and employment were undermined by lopsided trade and capital flows, and employers and financiers utilized the leverage afforded them by unrestrained international mobility to ratchet the distributional structure of the economy ever-more-blatantly in their own favour, we were informed this was just the logic of markets. And anyone who questioned
In the 1980 U.S. presidential election Republican Ronald Reagan campaigned in Michigan promising to protect autoworker jobs.
A strong U.S. dollar provoked measures to protect U.S. production of autos, steel and textiles against foreign competitors who profited from domestic currency weakness through increased exports to the U.S.
In 1981 Reagan imposed "voluntary" export restraint agreements on Japanese carmakers, who were required to limit their exports to the U.S.
Asked about Donald Trump, former prime minister Brian Mulroney responded, "he is a real gentleman." For Mulroney, a lifelong friend of everything American, Trump will be good for Canada. He thinks the U.S. president and Justin Trudeau will develop a productive friendship.
Mulroney is merely the opening act in what will be a major Canadian media campaign to "normalize" the president-elect and showcase his program. Canadians will be expected to discount what Trump has said about women, Mexicans, Muslims or immigrants, as has Brian Mulroney, and another Trump Florida neighbour, Conrad Black. Big business voices will want citizens to focus on what President Trump and Canada can accomplish together.
"Sweep away the community of honest brokers in America [and] we'll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact."
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Every five years the federal finance minister updates the "marching orders" that guide the Bank of Canada and its conduct of monetary policy. This process is the one opportunity for democratic oversight of the Bank, which otherwise is deemed to be operating "independently" of government -- all the better to ensure that it has the authority to take away the punchbowl whenever the economic party gets going too energetically.