Canada and the U.S. have both been greatly affected by a capricious economy. If the two neighbors are closed to reaching a conclusion on the Buy America issue, an amendment to the Free Trade Agreement won’t be happening in a hurry.
This is partly attributable to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a young Nigerian who has managed to put his country on the map and on the U.S. radar. In December, the sweet-faced teenager boarded on a plane wearing underpants equipped with sewn-in time-bombs. While other passengers and crew members from the flight have subdued the « underwear bomber », an improved free trade project between Canada and the U.S. may never fly again because of the attempted attack.
While reading Canadian Business this month, one could almost hear Thomas Watson – a writer of the publication – moaning about Abdulmutallab’s failed attack:
He may have been a flop at terrorism, but he succeeded in helping to threaten the very prosperity of North America by making Uncle Sam even more paranoid about sharing continental accommodations.
(…) Thanks to Abdulmutallab and his explosive underwear, America is once again clamping down on border activity.
Bridging the cap
How is the economy really affected by this hot pair of outfit? Abdulmutallab’s ability to elude the vigilance of the customs agents has reawakened security issues and fostered much stricter custom clearances for airports and bridges. Consequently, this event is now threatening the building of a third crossing that would operate between Canada and the United States.
There are currently two routes that link up Canadian Windsor city and the U.S.’ Detroit; the Ambassador bridge and the Detroit–Windsor highway tunnel. Among other merchandise, these crossings allow the shipment of auto parts worth billions of dollars. Both the U.S. and Canada bet on the car industry to maintain the stability of their economy.
But will the automobile industry survive borderline chaos and the giving-up of a twin-Ambassador bridge?
The two countries are caught in a vicious circle. On one hand, the U.S. fears that a third connection will offer a new path to terrorists. On the other hand, as Canadian Business points out, without a new bridge to galvanize the economy, there won’t be sufficient funds to counter terrorism in North America.
By requiring more time and money, ever-increasing security rules threaten 10 million jobs and create dramatic delays for just-in-time manufacturers who are force into stock-piling.
In contrast, last year already, Transport Canada announced the purchasing of 94 acres of land from the City of Windsor for a new border project that could – « generate thousands of much-needed jobs and economic activity, and will enable a smarter, more efficient flow of trade and travel between the two countries for generations to come. »
Europe = Europe, America = U.S.
If Europe is called Europe, the word « America » is exclusively used for the U.S.A. while Canada and a shy Mexico share the name « North America ». That’s why you can call a French person European but you won’t look too smart if you call an English Canadian – or better yet a French Canadian – « American ». The regular Jane Doe probably doesn’t think of Mexico as a North American country but this is precisely the opposite of the strategy that will boost the economy. Experts think the three countries should be standing as one and stop airing their dirty laundry – explosive underwear or not.