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February 19, 2009
Obama visits Canada amid alarm over U.S. protectionism

President Barack Obama made his first trip out of the United States since taking office on Thursday, venturing north to Canada. Canada, the United States’ largest trading partner, was reportedly alarmed by the “Buy American” provision in the stimulus package that Obama signed this week.

Alison Smith, Washington correspondent for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, joins Martin Savidge to discuss trade between the two countries, Canada’s troop presence in Afghanistan and Obama’s popularity with Canadians.

Below, read what Canadian bloggers thought of Obama’s visit and trade developments.

Blogger “Tanveer” writes that Obama’s brief trip will not sufficiently address the trade issue, or any other:

How can any of us take such notions seriously when he’s only allocating six hours to discuss issues that are of high importance to the United States’ biggest trading partner? Can we really expect Harper and Obama to make any grounds regarding the “Buy American” clause featured in Obama’s much hyped stimulus package?

[…]Americans of course are welcome to rally around Obama; he is after all their president. However, Canadians are in need of a wake-up call to realize that what Obama does might be good for America, but that doesn’t mean it will be good for Canada as well.

Blogger “jayesswhy” points out that New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton has proposed a “Buy Canadian” measure in response to the “Buy American” provision, arguing against it:

So why, at this crucial moment when the US is considering a “buy American” policy that would shut out Canadian producers from their largest market, would Mr. Layton suggest an antagonistic policy like “buy Canadian”? How would we begin to convince our biggest trade partner not to institute a “buy American” policy, while we turn around an institute one of our own? This is the other side of the argument that ideological anti-free traders like Mr. Layton conveniently miss, and it is a point on which I think they are far too infrequently pressed on.

User “Rob” comments on a story about George W. Bush’s scheduled speech in Calgary, his first since leaving office:

It’s amazing that Canadians do not respect [Bush] more. He did a lot for this country from opening the borders for cattle, to ending the softwood lumber, to his energy policies. Look, [Obama] is in office for less then a month and we are already battling Democratic protectionist policies that would hurt Canada’s economy. We as Canadians need to wake up to the fact that the platform of the Democratic Party in the U.S. hurts Canada’s economy, and instead of hating the Republicans, we should hope their open trade policies win over the next 2 years.

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1 comment


whatever is good for america is also good for canada, we love no other country more. you are our largest trading partner, and dear friend.

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