Champions Of Free Trade 

December 1st, 2013 | K. McGregor 

"The great danger to the consumer is the monopoly -- whether private or governmental. His most effective protection is free competition at home and free trade throughout the world. The consumer is protected from being exploited by one seller by the existence of another seller from whom he can buy and who is eager to sell to him. Alternative sources of supply protect the consumer far more effectively than all the Ralph Naders of the world." - Milton Friedman


Justin Trudeau, leader of the Canadian Liberal Party, has announced that he is the one to lead the middle class to prosperity. I do agree with Mr. Trudeau that the middle class has taken a big hit over the years and is feeling the pain, not only in Canada but in the US. I also agree with Trudeau that it is a severe enough problem that it should be a top priority for any government, provincial and federal. A democratic society has to have a healthy middle class in order to function. When people feel they have an investment in the country, they will get out and vote and keep the government in check. This doesn't seem to be the case in Canada today when reviewing some very disturbing statistics that show 40-50% of Canadians paying little or no tax. This indicates that a large number of Canadians are not taking part in Canada's prosperity. The questions are: "What do we do about the problem?" and "Is Mr. Trudeau the one to help this growing group of low-income earners?"
 
As the population grows, the economy should grow to absorb all the new entries into the work force. If it doesn't, the old and new will have to share the existing pie. If this happens, everyone gets a little less. Presently, less seems to be happening in Canada. What we have to do is expand the pie not only to absorb the new entries and give them a good wage, but to give everyone a better opportunity to expand their prosperity and growth. This growth will not happen by taxing the upper income earners and redistributing their wealth to supply makeshift jobs that have no real demand, like windmill farms in Ontario. These types of jobs will disappear when the tax money dries up and, in the case of the Ontario windmills, leave the tax payer on the hook for a product that barely produces anything. They are not sustainable jobs.
 
The Conservative Government of Canada has been the champion of free trade, with the North American Free Trade Agreement and the new European agreement. The Liberal government has been the champion of creating government owned and run corporations, like Air Canada, Petro Canada, and CBC. We only have to ask ourselves which has benefited Canada more, free trade agreements or government run businesses. The answer is clear. Free trade. As Milton Friedman said, monopolies benefit no one in the long run and government creates inefficient and wasteful monopolies; the kind the Liberal government has been responsible for.
 
The path is clear. If we want to help the middle class achieve greater prosperity, we have to expand our markets so there is more opportunity for business, the ones that can create sustainable, good paying jobs. Neither the Liberal Party of today or Trudeau have any history or real experience in this area.  As I have mentioned, the middle class has been beaten up going through the recession and the US, our major trading partner, is faltering under Obama. We need new markets.
 
As Canadians, our best bet for the future is a Conservative Government that has been working hard to expand our markets and believes in free trade, not nationalization and endless tax hikes like the NDP and Liberals.