Buy Canadian or Buy American: Just do it right

Kudos to the city of Toronto for purchasing $60 million of tunnel boring equipment from a local company. You will reap more benefits than if you had purchased outside of the city or outside of the country.

Just recently the city of Toronto spent $60million on four boring machines for tunneling. Kudos to them for giving the contract to a Toronto company. That $60million of tax payer’s money is actually a lot less when you take into consideration the positive side-effects of buying local.

Now, I’m all for fair and transparent bidding processes to avoid impropriety, but the problem is not everything just comes down to dollars. I bet the company mentioned above wouldn’t have won the contract if it was just bid dollars being considered. As we find out with most things in life, things are rarely black and white.

So I suggest a sane Buy Canadian or Buy Local system. You tender bids. You initially favour local companies until it becomes evident they do not meet certain criteria. For example, perhaps the local company doesn’t provide exactly what we want, or they have a very bad reputation, or they are unable to scale, or they don’t have sufficient financial backing, etc., etc., etc. This is pretty straight-forward stuff. Just keep removing bidders as they fail to meet criteria. As local companies fall off the list, you start getting into foreign companies. Everyone’s happy (or should be because this is sane and fair).

In the 90s, my father worked for the government and he often recommended Corel over Microsoft. At that point in time, Corel’s office products were arguably better than Microsoft’s. In certain fields, such as law, I’ve been told Corel WordPerfect maintained dominant marketshare right up until recent years. The icing on the cake is, of course, that Corel is/was a Canadian company and an icon on the markets, at that.

So, instead we bought Microsoft. Imagine how the US government would look if they chose Corel over Microsoft? They’d look ridiculous. And so does our government for buying Microsoft. Corel is now a sad, niche player where it used to be a darling of the technology software industry.

So, congratulations to the city of Toronto for buying local. You will gain more back buying local than you ever would’ve seen buying outside the city or outside the country.

It’s pretty simple. Just start doing it Canada.

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