Free trade within Canada: Better late than never


As an island of reason in a sea of raging anxiety, Canada has an opportunity this week to put its money where its mouth is on free trade.

Despite a spasm of doubt in the late 1980s, Canada, which was founded on the fur trade and today exports everything from water bombers to opera house acoustics, possesses a rare appreciation of the enrich-thy-neighbour values embedded in the free movement of goods, services, capital and people.

Except, it seems, in our own backyard. Within Canada, provinces have too often misdirected their energies towards erecting barriers — from the inane to the insidious — against those from away, even when “away” is right next door in an extraordinarily successful 149-year-old neighbourhood

On Friday, Canada’s 14 federal, provincial and territorial governments get a chance to remedy this annoying anomaly when Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains sits down with his counterparts to, as a recent Senate committee declared, “tear down these walls.”

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