Media Coverage
Contacts Schedule What You Can Do Home Page Français

The Edmonton Journal, Saturday, July 17, 1993

Public snaps up anti-free-trade text

By Sherrie Aikenhead

The RCMP have called him manipulative, scheming and argumentative, but many Canadians admire David Orchard.

Right now, they love his anti-free trade book.

The Fight for Canada has sold out in Toronto and is in its second printing with sales topping 8,000 copies. About 100 Edmontonians gathered this week at the main library for his book launch.

The Saskatchewan farmer, who leads Citizens Concerned About Free trade, has struck a chord with the unemployed and with information-starved Canadians who want to know more about the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and the United States.

He's using the book as a rallying cry to motivate people to take on another free-trade battle in the upcoming federal election. “Canadians have always resisted U.S. attempts but this election is crucial,” he said in an interview Friday.

As Orchard calls upon Canadians to defeat the deal, it may seem like déjà vu. In 1987, 7,000 ordinary folks concerned about the Free Trade Agreement with the United States formed the non-partisan lobby group. (Membership has now grown to 9,000.) At that time, Orchard was held for 25 minutes in an unmarked car for yelling at then-prime minister Brian Mulroney and a file ended up in RCMP records. That hasn't discouraged him from pursuing his cause.

His first hurdle is to get the Liberals to change their policy to renegotiate the deal with the United States.

Orchard is calling for a temporary coalition between the New Democrats and the Liberals to join forces and rip up the agreement.

Combined, more people voted for the opposition parties than the Progressive Conservatives. This election, the Liberals should leave Western seats to the New Democrats, he believes, and the New Democrats in turn shouldn't run candidates in Eastern Canada.

On open-line radio shows, he's urging Canadians to write Liberal Leader Jean Chretien and exact a promise to cancel the deal.

His book is filled with what he sees as consequences of the Canada-U.S. deal.

"People see the dramatic effects of losing jobs. Now were locked into a deal with Mexico and I don't think most people have a clue what's in it."

Back Top