Elsewhere on these pages, Communist Party of Canada leader Liz Rowley argues that “the US government has held Canada hostage to its unilateral and one-sided trade policies for long enough.” Those words were written before Donald Trump signed the G7 Summit declaration, and then tore up the same agreement minutes after departing for his Singapore meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s tantrum emphasizes a point this newspaper and its predecessors have raised repeatedly, going back to the post-WW2 Abbott Plan which locked Canada into the role of a supplier of raw materials and energy for US imperialism. As Communist leader Tim Buck warned at the time, continental integration paved the way for gutting Canada’s industrial and manufacturing sectors. Turning Canada into a resource extraction and export economy was hugely profitable for domestic big capital; today, for example, Canadian-based mining corporations are among the biggest, most profitable – and most destructive – in the world. But integration has come with a heavy price, and the bill is coming due. The US trade tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum may be just the beginning of a chaotic all-out trade war costing thousands of jobs. By signing onto corporate rights’ deals like NAFTA over the last 30 years, Liberal and Tory governments locked 80% of Canada’s trade to US imperialism, and to the emerging crisis of global capitalism.
Clearly, it’s time for a new trade policy based on mutually beneficial, and multi-lateral trade with other countries such as China, the second largest economy in the world. Instead, the Trudeau Liberals are blocking Chinese-owned companies from bidding on infrastructure projects for reasons of “national security.” This decision may have foolishly been intended to curry favour with Washington, but as we have just seen, such a strategy now seems even more short-sighted and dangerous.