Why not a “Buy Canadian React”?
President and CEO Richard Darveau wrote to Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the day after the State of the Union address by US President Joe Biden.
Mr. Darveau particularly notes and comments on the following remarks by Joe Biden:
“The American president mentioned that “too many good-paying jobs have been moved overseas. Domestic factories have closed,’ referring of course to the dozens of American manufacturers who are resigned to relocating their operations every year.
He said that “for too many decades, we have been importing products and exporting jobs.”
He rightly pointed out that his administration is working to change this, because nothing is a forgone conclusion, by ensuring that “the U.S. supply chain starts in the U.S.”, resulting in the creation of some 800,000 new jobs in the U.S. manufacturing sector, where an estimated $300 billion dollars USD in investments have been announced over the past two years.
The US President went further by promising to buy American, in the spirit of the “Buy American Act” passed in 1933 under President Herbert Hoover: “For too long, previous administrations have found ways around the problem. Not anymore.”
He took particular aim at the building materials sector: “I am announcing new standards to require that all building materials used in federal infrastructure projects be made in the United States. Lumber, glass, drywall, fibre optic cables,” Biden hammered. “And under my watch,” he added, “the nation’s roads, bridges, and highways will be made with American products.”
On this side of the border, while more than 150 manufacturers have joined the “Bien fait ici/Well Made Here” program, a movement supported by most of the major retailers, we do not sense any government will to support manufacturing activity and domestic synergy. We are not aware of any initiative to encourage Canadian consumers, but also Canadian businesses and our institutions, to favour the purchase of hardware and building materials produced in domestic manufacturing facilities.
It seems to us that we should, all together, the Canadian government, the manufacturers and their vast retail network, offer a response to the American offensive. Our motivation should not be retaliation, but rather the development of our own action plan, one that is both respectful of the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUMA) and supportive of the interests of Canadian citizens and businesses.”
The best way to act or respond is not through legislation, but through education; campaigns and incentives could change consumer behaviour at the hardware store in the same way that they look for local products at grocery stores today. It is possible to build a house and renovate it from the basement to the attic solely with hardware and building materials produced in local manufacturing facilities.