If we were to do so, there is every chance that the United States would respond in kind and they can afford to starve us out and there is little we could do about it. Much of our history as country has been marked by trade relations with the United States. As a country, we should know full well what U.S trade restrictions feel like to our economy. Picture the softwood lumber issue magnified by a million and felt in every town and city in the country.
I know that our overall trade with the U.S is dropping, yes indeed it has gone down from somewhere like 90% (nearly) to less than 80% (77% I recently read), but even if the trade with the U.S was only 10% of our total exports, it would cripple us if we were to face tariffs. We simply cannot take any action that might result in a U.S retaliation.
Beyond that, open trade is good for business. For those of you confused, the reasons that I'm against NAFTA, deep integration (SPP), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank is not because I'm against open trade, but exactly because of it.
NAFTA and the ongoing Security and Prosperity Partnership talks are instruments of U.S domination on the continent. The WTO, IMF and WB are instruments of G 7 control over the rest of the planet. These deals, frameworks and agencies are not instruments of free/fair trade and open borders, they are just as imperialistic as the Roman armies were.
So, I believe that if markets were actually really open, the poor wouldn't be so poor. Developing countries would be developing faster and non- developing countries (LDC level 4 and especially 5) would have started developing a long time ago. How often do you see "made in Somalia" on a package? Yes, we rape their land, take their produce for cheap (often through farms owned by a company based in a G-8 country (or China) and force their people into semi slavery. Yes, their country does get a little money for the rape of their land, but not nearly as much as if they were allowed to sell manufactured products.
In closing, I believe in fair trade. It's good to have fewer trade barriers and protections. There is a role for some protectionism for poor countries, certainly so. But for Canada to impose a "Buy Canadian" Jack Layton scheme would, as Gordon Brown recently stated: would be "the road to ruin".
I can't support a party with such a policy. I might still vote for them, but I'm dropping the T-shirt (kidding, never had one).