Closing the border to companies south of the border is not the way to combat American protectionist policies, insisted Premier Dalton McGuinty.
McGuinty told the delegates at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario that the best way to ensure both countries enjoy a strong and sustained recovery is if they work together. He called on municipal politicians to reach out to their counterparts across the border.
He said Canadian politicians need to demonstrate that they are united on this issue.
McGuinty said all the provincial premiers are supporting the Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in efforts to have the policy dropped.
“I just want to make sure that municipalities in Ontario are there as well,” he said.
At a time when world trade is so interconnected, McGuinty said the only way to get out of a recession is to keep working together.
“There are millions and millions of jobs south of the border that depend upon the continuing health and vitality of our trading relationship,” he said. “It compromises our economies and it will cost them jobs if we shut down our borders.”
A backlash to the “Buy American” policy most prominently flared up earlier this year when a Halton Hills-based company that manufactures industrial pumps and normally sells them to cities in the United States was cut out of the bidding competition because it was a Canadian company.
This sparked a movement, led by the Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette, calling on the United States to review its current “Buy American” policies.
AMO president and Alta Vista Ward Coun. Peter Hume said that was the catalyst for a push to have the Buy American policy repealed.
Hume said it was important that Canadian companies had access to American markets.
Hume said they’ve talked to the American Conference of Mayors and they are encouraging border cities to explain to their American colleagues what the impact of the policy would have on them as well.
“We continue to press the provincial government to that end,” he said. “We’re optimistic and we’re not going to give up on that either.”