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Free trade is a horrible deal and should be cancelled.

I THINK IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT VIRTUALLY ALL THE PREDICTIONS made by the opponents of the Free Trade Agreement have now come true.

Based on a 74-cent dollar, the Economic Council of Canada predicted the trade agreement would produce 250,000 jobs in Canada. Using the Council's own calculation methods, it was shown that there would be a 300,000 job loss if the Canadian dollar were to rise to 86 cents. As we all know, employment in the manufacturing industry alone is down by more than 300,000 jobs since the trade deal was signed. Statistics Canada says the situation is worsening.

Opponents demonstrated that low wages and anti-union laws in 21 American states would pull jobs and investment out of Canada. They are the very states that we now see our plants being relocated to.

The Bank of Nova Scotia's analysis of the trade deal showed that industries which were expected to be losers employed 97 per cent of working people in Canada.

The list of losers coincides perfectly with current headlines of plant closings, bankruptcies and layoffs. Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed says he would never have supported the deal had he any idea that the dollar was going to go to 85 and 87 cents.

This is the first recession in at least 50 years where the Canadian downturn took place six months before the U.S. began. Make no mistake about it, this is a free trade recession.

The recession is largely blamed on the high value of the Canadian dollar. What is being missed is the fact that the trade agreement has had a lot to do with the rise in the value of the dollar.

The section of the agreement that allows virtually unlimited purchases by foreign interests of Canadian corporations puts upward pressure on the dollar. There have been over 2,000 companies purchased since the trade agreement came into effect. These takeovers are negative to employment, tax revenues and economic development.

The dollar has also been driven up by the fact that the U.S. has much greater and more secure access to our natural resources. High exports and the prospect of future growth in exports of resources tend to push the value of the dollar up. Most natural resources are priced in U.S. dollars. The higher the Canadian dollar goes, the less we receive for resources such as oil and gas. As a result, we sell more for less under the trade agreement.

These two factors have made our manufactured goods non-competitive. While the supporters of the deal continue to divert attention by complaining about our Canadian lack of competitiveness, it is the trade agreement itself that has pushed the dollar to 88 cents and made us non-competitive.
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Title Annotation:United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement
Author:Loewen, William
Publication:Manitoba Business
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:461
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