Friday, January 30, 2009

COOPERATION?


PIGS.

That's the acronym for Portugal, Italy and Greece because of the fortunes they have each drained from the European Union in recent years.

Spain alone has been given in excess of $245 Billion in the past decade.

Ireland was in the same predicament for many years and the EU monies did an amazing job rebuilding aging and often non-existent infrastructure.

Then, Dublin discovered IT and the island became "overnight" a fabulously productive Have Country.

Spain and its dos amigos, on the other hand, show no signs of similar miracles. Their economies are heavily based on construction projects and tourism. Which Canadian has not enjoyed the sights and tastes and delights of these three beautiful countries in recent years?

Thus, Spain, for example, facing an expected 20% unemployment rate by 2011, is urging local consumers to buy local goods.

All of which - by way of saying this problem is not unique to North America - is to introduce the thorny problem of the distinctly "Buy America" flavour in Obama's bail-out plans.

We exported $11 Billion in steel products to the USA in 2007.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day is raising the alarms about protectionist measures and their dire consequences.

He is hardly alone.

Economist after editorialist echoes these concerns.

Trade wars, closed borders and protectionism lead almost inevitably to plunging economies everywhere.

Obama has a serious problem. He may be a reformer, but he is first a politician and it is the votes of those steel workers that got him into office.

His visit to Canada in just a few weeks will be much more serious than a rock show and window dressing.

Is NAFTA to be scrapped? Is the USA's Homeland Security Office going to make the movement of people and goods across our borders even more onerous?

Will protectionist measures set off a massive confrontation with China?

Hunkering down under wintry weather is understandable. But closing the doors is ill-advised.

Let us watch carefully to see what the most interesting American President in many, many years will be prepared to do in the face of this enormous challenge.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no faith in Stockwell Day (or many of the Tory cabinet members) to protect the interests of Canada over the U.S.

Pelalusa said...

Forgive me, David, but I trust you will understand why I am laughing at all Canadians who consistently told me that Barack Obama was equivalent to the second coming of Christ. Many even said that he would be not just the leader of the U.S. but also the leader of the Free World.

I was skeptical then and am more skeptical now. But Canadians would have overwhelmingly voted for him if they could have so each of them must now accept responsibility for any actions which hurt Canada, possibly dramatically.

Anonymous said...

"But Canadians would have overwhelmingly voted for him if they could have so each of them must now accept responsibility for any actions which hurt Canada, possibly dramatically."

Now *that* statement is what's known as a stretch. From "would have" and "could have" - to "must"? That is quite the extrapolation. I don't think so.


June

David in North Burnaby BC said...

Heh heh heh ...I'm thinking English Breakfast, Sir David. I figure it won't be long now. ;-)