Pock­et­book pa­tri­o­tism takes off amid U.S. trade ten­sions

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

So­cial me­dia users are pledg­ing to #BuyCana­dian amid a sim­mer­ing trade stand­off with the U.S., but ex­perts say pock­et­book pa­tri­o­tism may have un­in­tended con­se­quences on both sides of the bor­der.

Bon­nie Hall­man of Win­nipeg says she can­celled a long-de­sired trip to Alaska shortly af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took aim at Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau for push­ing back against Amer­i­can tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum.

The 53-year-old says she’s now booked to visit P.E.I. next sum­mer be­cause she would rather spend her dol­lars to­wards sup­port­ing Cana­dian tourism.

Scott Cham­ber­lain, a fa­ther of four in Ottawa, says he’s been try­ing to fill his gro­cery cart with mostly home­grown goods to bol­ster the Cana­dian pro­duc­ers who could be hard­est hit by cross-bor­der fric­tion over trade.

Robert Wolfe, a pro­fes­sor emeritus at Queen’s Uni­ver­sity’s School of Pol­icy Stud­ies, says the #BuyCana­dian move­ment could fan the flames of a trade war in which no side would pre­vail un­scathed.

He says the mir­ror of ‘buy Cana­dian’ is ‘buy Amer­i­can,’ which could have a detri­men­tal im­pact on Cana­dian com­pa­nies trad­ing in the U.S. mar­ket.

“If it starts to es­ca­late the Canada-U.S. ten­sions so that Amer­i­cans be­gin to think we’re ac­tu­ally just mad at them, as op­posed to mad at their pres­i­dent, that could be dif­fi­cult for Canada U.S. re­la­tions, and ul­ti­mately, not good for the econ­omy.’’

Food econ­o­mist Mike von Mas­sow of the Uni­ver­sity of Guelph says a show of Cana­dian fis­cal sol­i­dar­ity may but­tress the coun­try’s po­si­tion in trade ne­go­ti­a­tions, but swear­ing off Amer­i­can-made prod­ucts is eas­ier said than done.

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