Made in Canada, Eh?

The Prime Minister is proposing to introduce legislation to ensure that
foods and manufactures labelled “product of Canada” or “made in Canada” are
indeed mostly grown here or made here.

It won’t be enough to add a smear of Canadian icing. The cake beneath has to
be “Canadian.”

Some journalists are arguing that Mr. Harper’s trying to bolster his
popularity with women voters. Probably. Politicians are constantly trying to
please voters. We hope.

But the proposed legislation doesn’t favour women over men, and – this is
the important point – doesn’t favour particular cultural or religious
groups. It thus fits the Canadian Fathers’ definition of matters proper to
the “general government.” They argued for a constitutional division of
legislative powers that would assign to the Parliament of Canada matters
affecting equally each and every individual in the federation, leaving the
provinces with primary responsibility for religious and ethnic matters.

It isn’t only women who shop. If you read the National Post you get the
impression that men shop constantly for ground-hugging cars and outrageously
slim trousers. Could be. I shop, you shop, we all shop. And we all have at
least a passing interest in what’s on the labels.

Of course the shopper’s often thinking about gender (well, sex, really), and
ethnicity and religion, among a dozens of other things. “Is this neckline
modest enough?” “Can I serve this cake to my Jewish father-in-law?” But
thank goodness, on these questions a label reading “made in Canada” has
nothing to say.

The proposed bill will admit debate on economic issues. Aren’t we supposed
to be favouring agricultural imports in the hope of bringing third-world
countries into the global economy? But debate on economic issues is fair
game in Parliament. It’s the game. It’s to be welcomed.

(Breaking off to read the Bouchard-Taylor report, for which Travis has sent a
link.)

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