Friday, August 7, 2009

Premiers Back Harper on Fight Against Buy America Policy

(Toronto Star)

Canada’s premiers are firmly behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his bid to counter protectionist trade policies being adopted in the U.S.

In a rare show of unity, premiers of all political stripes yesterday vowed to help Harper as he fights the so-called Buy America provisions being applied by American state and local governments that prevent Canadian companies from bidding on projects funded by President Barack Obama’s $787 billion (U.S.) stimulus package.

Harper is to meet with Obama on Sunday in Mexico, and with the premiers’ endorsement in hand, he is expected to tell the president Canada is ready to move ahead in the effort to neutralize the Buy America problem. This will lay the groundwork, sources say, for International Trade Minister Stockwell Day to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk next week indicating that Ottawa is ready to begin bilateral negotiations aimed at solving the issue.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said it’s essential the premiers give Harper a “strong hand” for the meeting with the U.S. president and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“We cannot escape our interdependence. This is an era of globalization. We’re in this together,” McGuinty said at the annual Council of the Federation meeting.

“The appeal that we have to make to our American cousins is one based on their enlightened self-interest,” said the Ontario Liberal. Read more here.