Yes we can! Let’s have smart trade policies to protect Canadian jobs.

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Yes we can! Let’s have smart trade policies to protect Canadian jobs.

Yes we can! Let’s have smart trade policies to protect Canadian jobs. There are few relationships in the world today stronger than the one between Canada and the United States. Our histories are often shared, our values similar and our futures linked. So when our American friends vote to change the overall thrust of their trade policies, we need more than a knee-jerk response from the government. That is why we need to work with President Obama’s plan to re-build the North American Free Trade Agreement. Changes must be made to ensure much stronger environmental, labour and social protections, as well as more transparency, and less corporate control. It’s time for fair trade to come to Canada. A Canadian policy of fair trade would have many benefits. Most notably, it could protect and save jobs domestically through a Buy Canada Act negotiated sector-by-sector with our American allies, and with other countries willing to reciprocate and share the added value. This is a recognition that strong domestic industries build a better foundation for trade than the low-wage global supply model we have now. We are currently witnessing a shift in how we manage our economies. It is time that our trade deals also reflect this new reality. Canada must negotiate agreements with the United States to invest in domestic industries like automotive, steel and iron. Buy American and Buy Canadian policies should supplement these agreements. Managed trade, used effectively in fair trade agreements like a new Auto Pact, could help re-build our struggling manufacturing industry. President Obama was elected on a fair trade policy platform because Americans, like an increasing number of Canadians and Mexicans, now reject unregulated free trade. Republican Senator John McCain and his free trade platform were soundly defeated last November. Yet in Canada, Conservatives and Liberals continue to defend unregulated free trade - despite its legacy of lower standards, poorer quality of life and shrinking Canadian wages. The fact is that while NAFTA has brought an increased level of trade between our two countries (largely inter-company transfers); it has clearly failed on the bottom line. Statistics Canada reports that since 1989, the real income of the majority of families in Canada has actually decreased. Canadian investment has suffered too. Under NAFTA we have seen more than 11,000 foreign takeovers of companies in Canada. 80% of these takeovers were from the United States. New business investment accounts for less than 3% of foreign direct investment. Far from stimulating productive investment in Canada, NAFTA has hastened the fire sale of Canadian assets. This is an historic moment to choose a real path forward for Canada's economy. Instead of remaining mired on the unregulated path that got us into our current economic mess, Canada should take a leadership role and pursue a fair trade model with the United States and the rest of the world. The time has come. Yes we can. Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby-New Westminster) NDP Critic for International Trade

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

What does this mean, anyway? What is "fair trade"?

Is there anything more to it than protectionist "Buy Canadian" and "Buy American" slogans?

What is President Obama's "plan to rebuild" NAFTA? Does it involve more government regulation of trade? Is Obama's plan going to make things better for Canadian workers? Do we even want a rebuilt NAFTA?

Canadians are losing jobs because capital is free to move across international borders to where wages are lower than what Canadians are paid. Is Julian proposing to put an end to that? Is Obama?


Buy Canadian.

Let Canadians decide which capital flows into Canada and which flows out.

Yes, we can!