David Orchard
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Guelph Mercury, March 4, 2002

"Accurate story to a degree"

by David Orchard

David Orchard sets the record straight on his position on international trade

I read with interest your story, "Globalization called threat to sovereignty" (Guelph Mercury, January 29, 2002).

I commend your paper and your reporter for covering this topic which is of such vital significance for our country and write to correct a couple of errors which made their way into an otherwise accurate story.

The article opens by describing me as "a staunch opponent of international trade." Actually the opposite is true. As a farmer and an active Canadian living in one of Canada's most trade dependent provinces (Saskatchewan) I have always advocated mutually beneficial international trade. My criticism is of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and NAFTA and more precisely, clauses in those agreements that are damaging our sovereignty as a nation.

While claiming to improve international trade these agreements have actually led to the opposite results -- witness the softwood lumber case, U.S. attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board, limits on steel, hogs and wheat exports etc. etc. At the same time Canada is increasingly trading with only one country, the U.S., and less with the world. In addition, more and more of Canada's international trade is actually being conducted by U.S. corporations and their subsidiaries.

For fifty years prior to the FTA the standard of living for Canadians rose; in the twelve years since the signing of the FTA our standard of living has fallen. At the same time our country's economy is being assimilated into that of the U.S. We are even being told it's time to consider adopting a common currency with the U.S. -- which would mean an end to what remains of Canada's fiscal and economic independence.

So, it's not international trade that I oppose, but rather those sections of the trade agreement that are hurting our economy and costing us our independence to boot.

The second correction refers to the Americans being defeated at the battle of the Plains of Abraham (in 1759). This is incorrect. French and English speaking Canadians and their aboriginal allies defeated and repulsed the Americans when they invaded Canada in 1775 and again in 1812-14.

David Orchard is the author of The Fight for Canada -- Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism and was runner-up to Joe Clark in the 1998 federal Progressive Conservative leadership contest. He farms in Borden, SK

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