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Column: A reminder for our southern neighbours

We Canadians were not particularly surprised by a newly inaugurated United States president stopping four years of work and investment in the Keystone XL pipeline project.

We Canadians were not particularly surprised by a newly inaugurated United States president stopping four years of work and investment in the Keystone XL pipeline project. With so much of the work already completed and the obvious economic benefits to both the U.S. and Canada, we recognize it to be a political move that North America will regret when history informs future generations of what might have been. If President Joe Biden had stopped there, I don’t think most Canadians – outside of Alberta and Saskatchewan – would have any real hard feelings. But he didn’t stop there. 

In the week since the initial announcement, Biden and his administration have been beating the drums with a “Buy American” battle cry. They are working on legislation that would force all government agencies, including state and municipal governments, to only entertain American bids when spending on government needs or infrastructure. What do we get from the leader of our country? So far, no rebuttal that might give the new U.S. president cause to pause his new policies.   

I don’t blame our federal government for feeling somewhat relieved by having a new leader south of our border. The previous president was not only unpredictable, uncontrollable and unreasonable, but he was never to be trusted, as he appeared to make decisions and govern via social media. How do you work with a guy like that? So, when Biden was elected, no one worried about what he was saying. They only appreciated how he said it. He’s a more eloquent and respectful speaker. 

But here we are, a week into his administration, and he has our country more concerned than ever as to what his policies will do to our economy. 

If our federal government does not act to defend our economy against these drastic policies, we could see economic challenges far beyond the next four years. Canadian manufacturers could move operations south, as to have access to more lucrative contracts, thus investing in the U.S. economy and pulling any investments out of Canada. All those jobs would go to Americans instead of Canadians, making an already dismal employment field even more barren. We could find ourselves beyond recessionary economics, and in an outright depression. 

I don’t claim to have the answer, but I hope most Canadians are paying attention.

There are things we can do to mitigate the damages. For one, we as citizens can begin to realize where our goods are made and look to buy Canadian-made products whenever possible. We need manufacturers to see us as a market too big to abandon.  

The second thing might be a little tougher for some of us. We can commit to avoiding any recreational travel in the U.S. until the country’s leaders sit down and negotiate a fair deal with our country. As much as I like warmer vacations in the middle of winter, I think I’ll hold off on any trips south of the border. If the U.S. tourism industry takes a hit, perhaps they’ll experience a little bit of the pain we will experience if they follow through on their new proposed policies.  

Just because our government doesn’t declare a boycott doesn’t mean we the people can’t act on one. No San Diego or Florida for me this year – I’ll use the money saved to buy more Canadian-made mitts and parkas. We as Canadians can avoid buying American-made products just as easily as they want to legislate American-only policies to their citizens.  

Hopefully, there are enough of us willing to put our country first when we all book our vacations or shop. Time will tell.