It has been hard to ignore what is happening in the United States right now, as Trudeau senior once said, it is “the elephant sleeping next to us, a small Canadian flea, that feels everything.” Furthermore, now the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations are starting with comments in the media every day, including threats from President Trump to cancel it all together.
The Trump administration released their list of specific goals for a new NAFTA on July 17th and “Government procurement” made the list. As Vanguard readers all know, government procurement is very, very complicated and industry executives trying to sell their solutions quickly, whether they like it or not, become experts in government, politics, and policy if they want to be successful.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s position on the matter was that “government contracts are political junk food – superficially appetizing, but unhealthy in the long run.” That may be, but if it is coming up in these negotiations, we must ensure we get our fair share. The US Government is by far the largest government customer in the world, buying over half a trillion Canadian dollars; and they make almost all of their purchases locally.
Of that, defence (or “defense” in the US) is the largest discriminatory portion of that budget. For the most part, the “elephant sleeping next to us” has figured out how to drive long-term social and economic gains, particularly driving technology investments in their own country through the spending that needs to be made anyways. Even beyond just Government spending, when the US Government has to approve something, they point to “what is the jobs impact to our country.”