August 22, 2019

Harper government attacked over ‘Buy American’ rules

Apparently stimulation in North America ends at the Canadian border.

Opposition parties in Canada are attacking the federal government over the possibility Canadian companies could be shut out of contracts related to a new round of U.S. stimulus spendings.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama outlined nearly $450 billion worth of proposals to stimulate his country’s stagnant job market, of which about $140 billion was for infrastructure and public works projects that would be subject to “Buy American” provisions.

Ed Fast, Canada’s international trade minister, has said he will consult U.S. officials in an effort to get Canadian firms exemptions to Buy American rules, as was done for the previous round of U.S. stimulus spending.

On Thursday, Liberal MP Joyce Murray said the fact Canada is again facing Buy American provisions shows the federal government didn’t do a proper job negotiating long-term exemptions in the previous deal.

“When the most recent U.S. job-creation plan was being drafted, “apparently they completely forgot about Canada,” Murray said.

She said that when Canada gained Buy American exemptions last year, it came “too late” to provide enough opportunities for Canadian businesses.

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said the arrangement saw Canadian firms being eligible for less than $2 billion U.S. in American projects while U.S. companies had access to about $25 billion in projects here.