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EDITORIAL: Shop Canada

This Etsy Made in Canada market featured locally made items that covered a wide range of products.
This Etsy Made in Canada market featured locally made items that covered a wide range of products.

There’s a role for Atlantic Canadians to play in a growing national pushback against U.S. President Donald Trump and his trade and tariff policies that unfairly penalize this country.

A boycott of American goods is gaining momentum. You can pick a slogan to fit your personal priority: “Buy Canadian,” or “Go Trump-free.”

The movement began when the president made personal attacks against Canada and its prime minister for opposing U.S. tariffs. The president’s tirade was pretty much what you’d expect from a bully — he reacted in anger when Justin Trudeau said Canada won’t be pushed around.

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We are taking a stand against punitive tariffs on lumber, steel and aluminum, and threats on our pulp and paper, auto industry and dairy supply management system.

Our resolve was strengthened after watching the horrors of children being separated from their parents at U.S. borders.

As regions, communities and individuals, we can do something, and we can make a difference — perhaps not as an official or government-supported boycott of American goods, but as provinces.

Look for the maple leaf brand and buy local whenever possible. It can be as easy as switching from Florida orange juice to Annapolis Valley apple juice. There are lots of options to boost our sense of justice and pride in country. Businesses are urged to stick that Canadian symbol prominently on products heading for export. We need our Chinese, Japanese, Indian, European and other trading partners to know they are buying Canadian.

Canada has promised to retaliate equally on July 1 for the president’s latest tariffs on steel and aluminum. It may well invite an additional American response. Trump is also escalating his tariff attacks on China and that country is promising to retaliate — with tariffs on U.S. lobster and soybeans, for example. If that happens, Atlantic Canadian farmers and fishermen could benefit.

It’s easier during this summer season to buy local fruits and vegetables. It will be a truer test of our resolve later in the year when Canadian food products cost more. Can we make a trip to the supermarket and go “Trump-free” by not buying a single American product?

Incidentally, it might not seem important in the greater scheme of things, but why is our Canadian lobster known by the scientific moniker Homarus americanus?

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec fishermen and processors don’t want to give overseas customers a false impression. It’s time for a new genus — Homarus canadianus — and time to stamp those lobster crates proudly with that name and maple leaf.

As columnist Russell Wangersky notes, “if you’re making a sacrifice for your principles, the general idea is that you have to sacrifice something.”

If that means going without, paying a little more or buying a substitute product, then so be it. We can do it.

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