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Bill Kelly: Looming elections lead to bad policy decisions

Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and International Trade Minister Michael Chan are heading to New York state to urge legislators to exempt Canada from a Buy American policy it plans to introduce, warning that it could lead to trouble on both sides of the border. .
Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and International Trade Minister Michael Chan are heading to New York state to urge legislators to exempt Canada from a Buy American policy it plans to introduce, warning that it could lead to trouble on both sides of the border. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Given the climate created by Donald Trump’s America First mantra and how it’s affected NAFTA negotiations, I guess it was inevitable that mini trade squabbles were sure to arise and Ontario and New York State are embroiled in one right now.

In response to New York insisting on American-made materials for infrastructure projects, Ontario has now placed a tariff on American iron coming into the province.

READ MORE: Ontario limits use of New York iron to push back against Buy American law

Opposition parties have criticized the move, but if they dial down the partisan rhetoric, they’d likely do the same thing if it were their call to make.

Trade wars are bad policy and hurtful to both sides, and, as is usually the case, this is more about politics than economics.

READ MORE: Ontario’s pushback against Buy American a ‘last-ditch election ploy’: Tories

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Premier Kathleen Wynne are both heading towards elections.

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Wynne’s challenges have been well documented, but Cuomo is also facing formidable challenges to even win the Democratic nomination for governor.

Cuomo had to do something to enshrine himself as the defender of New York State and Wynne had to respond and stand up for Ontario manufacturers.

The fact is, elections cause bad policy decisions: it seems that rational thought takes a back seat to political expediency and when that happens, there are no winners, only losers on both sides.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News