Canadian MP Proposes 'Buy Canadian' Law

Sept. 21, 2009
He says most industrialized economies have to one degree or another procurement policies that favor their own industries.

A Canadian opposition lawmaker said he would propose a law to "buy Canadian" as Washington moves on a "Buy American" provision.

"Taxpayers' money should serve to support Canadian jobs," New Democrat MP Peter Julien told public broadcaster CBC, adding that "most industrialized economies have to one degree or another procurement policies that favor their own industries."

The Buy American clause, included by US President Barack Obama's administration in a nearly $800 billion economic recovery package adopted earlier this year, originally required projects funded with stimulus money to use only U.S.-made steel, iron and manufactured goods.

It was later watered down to say that such procurement could only take place in a manner consistent with Washington's international treaty obligations.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who held his first White House talks with Obama on Wednesday, "bragged today that he has spoken to Barack Obama now seven times about this issue," Julien said. "Well, I think that's evidence of failure, not of success."

Julien proposed that U.S. lawmakers accept Canadian goods as American under the "Buy American" measure, and that the Canadian Parliament pass legislation that would likewise allow American goods to be treated on equal footing with Canadian products.

Most political commentators say any protectionist measures would likely be opposed in parliament, as Canada's economy relies heavily on exports.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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