Opinion: Obama Needs Canada and Harper Needs The US to Grow

On Thursday President Obama will make his first trip to Canada. Stephen Harper has to get it through the new president’s head that open trade between the two countries makes good economical sense.
President Obama is playing a game of buy American only. That game will backfire for both Canadians and the citizens of the United States. The United States needs the strength of the Canadian bank and Canada needs the ability to export to their largest buyer. Hand in hand we prosper, split both nations will have a hard road to walk.

The Canadian Press reports:

“It would be marvelous if there were a joint declaration by both Obama and Harper saying they resolutely reject protectionism,” said Thomas d’Aquino, head of the association representing Canada’s largest corporations.

“It’s not only good for Canada and the U.S., it would be a signal to the world that the two countries that are most heavily inter-dependent on trade feel strongly on this.”

That could change though if the US stopped buying Canadian goods and services. We’re talking about $560 billion in trade annually. Both countries would feel that pinch.

When you consider that Canada supplies much of the United States energy it’s not hard to visualize the huge costs that the citizens of the United States will have with higher energy bills. Those on the other side of the border will also suffer as the needs decrease for the product. Those lessened needs will result in job cuts.

While Canada’s banks are in good standing the nation’s manufacturers have taken heavy hits because of global money woes. And the near future may not be any rosier. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers this weekend in Rome that he expects that the numbers will continue to worsen each month this coming year.

The Globe and Mail reports that the United States recession is affecting the manufacturing sales in Canada.

“It’s coast-to-coast,” said economist Marc Pinsonneault of National Bank Financial. “This reveals how the U.S. recession, and the global economy, is taking its toll on Canadian manufacturing.”

Quebec seems to be getting off easiest in the recession game, with manufacturing sales down just 5.3 percent compared to Ontario’s 17.6 percent and Saskatchewan’s 14.2 percent. Prince Edward Island actually showed growth in the last quarter with manufacturing sales up 2.3 per cent.


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