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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Letter: Let’s have an informed and serious political discussion

Dear editor:

While perusing vinyl flooring recently at a big-box store I innocently asked the salesperson if any flooring was manufactured in Canada.

He immediately responded that since Justin Trudeau and the Liberals came to power nothing is produced in Canada anymore.

I did not respond to such a viewpoint. But it did occur to me that he represented a large segment of the population that gathers information from media outlets which love “sound bite” news or from social platforms which recognize the viewpoints of its followers by adding comments from posters who legitimize the opinion as fact.

How does one persuade this population that there is a reason we once again have become a raw material economy and it has nothing to do with Trudeau or former PM Stephen Harper?

The election of 1988 saw Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives promoting free trade with the United States. It was opposed by Jean Chretien and the Liberals.

It was a fierce and nasty campaign that eventually was won by the Conservatives and, while a success, the next step to a globalization movement was problematic.

Small manufacturing companies could not compete without protective tariffs and thus began a hollowing out of hundreds of such companies. (Since I was a customs officer at the time I knew the tariff system and its impact.)

The West was to dominate the tech and communication sector and therefore all would benefit from cheap imports from China and Korea.

Unfortunately China did not get the message and developed its own tech expertise, leaving the U.S. and Canada to export billions in currency to purchase cheap goods from Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea and China.

As Canadians we need to be better informed and we need the three political parties to stop the blame game and start developing a strategy to increase the incomes of all Canadians.

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have said the U.S. will eviscerate the free trade agreements if elected and introduce protective, widespread tariff policies.

Are Canadians only going to be choppers of wood and drawers of water or can we start our own selective protective tariff system to encourage more home production?

The next election will be interesting and I hope it will be one in which all parties recognize that we have a problem and have a serious discussion as opposed to: ”The country is broken blah blah blah.”

Michael Eagen

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