Economist Jack Mintz says federal & provincial policy is making Canada even less prepared for the possible end of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
While the Trudeau government, and much of Canada’s foolish elites attacked Stephen Harper for raising concerns about NAFTA negotiations, one of Canada’s top economists says Harper is justified in his worry.
Writing in the Financial Post, economist Jack Mintz says based on what he has heard in the United States, Canadians should be concerned about the future of NAFTA:
Said Mintz, “Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s leaked memo on the possible failure of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations caught many by surprise. After my own visit to Washington recently, his pessimism seems warranted. So much so that the American business lobby is gearing up to forestall a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.”
Mintz says the Trump Administration thinks that they can improve the U.S. position by issuing a notice of withdrawal from the agreement, and forcing Canada and Mexico to give in to his demands in order to keep NAFTA alive.
Mintz also points out that the idea being pushed by the Trudeau government – free trade with China – isn’t the answer to replacing potential lost trade with the U.S., and his excellent points on China are worth quoting at length:
“The latest policy rage is for Canada to cozy up with China, which has used its accession to the WTO to grab global market share while protecting its highly subsidized economy. Now the Chinese government plans to push for greater government involvement in the economy by not only subsidizing and protecting state-owned enterprises but also taking stakes in private companies or regulating them more stringently. Chinese trade therefore comes with danger not just in terms of intellectual-property theft but also unfair trading and investment practices.”
Mintz makes the point that there is not much benefit from having private Canadian companies be bought up by state-owned enterprises.
Additionally, Mintz notes that Canada needs better regulations and a tax system that encourages growth in order to succeed in a potential post-NAFTA environment. Unfortunately, that’s not happening:
“Yet, in some ways, federal and provincial governments are headed the opposite way: regulating more heavily, raising business taxes and failing in their plans to get our goods to tidewater (and not just oil and gas). If NAFTA fails, we are going to need an abrupt reversal.”
These are great points, and it’s disturbing that almost nobody in Ottawa is bringing them up. Canada is facing serious economic challenges going forward, but those in power are making us even more vulnerable. They should be listening to people like Mintz who realize that higher taxes and more regulations will only kill jobs and make our country weaker – regardless of what happens with NAFTA.
Photos – YouTube