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[personal profile] metawidget
I'm writing from Toronto, waiting for Elizabeth to catch up with me in the lounge they let us sleeper-class passengers use. I hope her audition for the Folk Festival went well... because now it's basically vacation time!

...aside from the little bit of contract programming for an old client of mine that I picked up and procrastinated on a bit. But I think the really important parts are done, and the files are sent off. I hope any little fixes will feel like recreational programming.

I can't quite believe we're actually doing this Crazy Cross-Country Rail Trip — it came up fast, but it should be fun. We'll have somewhat intermittent Internet once we get beyond Windsor later tonight, but I'll try to record the bits of our journey in blog posts and pictures, and fire them off when we have a signal. We leave Toronto at 10, so we'll grab some good food (I hope) near Union Station.




Good blog post on protectionist sentiment, the economy, gambling ads and appearing concerned:

http://ansuz.sooke.bc.ca/ephemera/too-many-symbols.php

Also, I'm a bit disappointed in our Liberal senators, who earlier this week seemed ready to strip un-stimulus stuff (bashing public service unions, removing women's right to go to court for pay equity) out of the budget and pass the actual spending stuff, only to be pressured, it seems, by the MPs to hold their noses and pass the whole omnibus shebang. It's back to the last Parliament, where the Cons are evil and the Libs have no backbone — same strategy, too: the Cons do something all-or-nothing with a few reasonable elements (stimulus package, not having another election), the Libs object briefly, the Cons accuse them of obstructing the few nice things in their package, conveniently ignoring the ideological payload, and the Libs fall over themselves trying not to look obstructionist, whether it's sitting out votes or pushing senators to skip the due dilligence. I think it actually kind of tied in with Matthew Skala's article above, it's all about perception and symbols and not much about what a measure actually does.

Date: 2009-03-15 12:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] felis-ultharus.livejournal.com
I think we're in a false dichotomy of protectionism versus free trade. Sensible societies use both as tools, consider the trade-offs in each situation. They weigh the value of protecting local industry versus foreign investment, and make calculated assessments of the values of each.

Most Western nations pay lip service to free trade, but most sneak protectionism in through the back door. The US has been long before stimulus packages. The EU does, too.

Only Canada is so naive as to think that free trade across the board -- at the expense of safety restrictions, human rights, environmental regulations, and the existence of vital industries.

Free trade absolutism the reason we've had to turn over environmental restrictions like the ban on MMT. It's also the reason we can't keep slave-labour made, lead-lined, trucked-across-the-Pacific-at-a-massive-carbon-cost Chinese products from competing unfairly with first-world-made goods, making it impossible to buy certain products not made in China.

I think it's time to get rid of the dirty-word factor applied to protectionism. What we need is a balance, not a simplistic all-or-nothing approach to trade.

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