Here’s a little flashback for fans of humorous Canadian music from the early 1990s:
Often on the weekend I’ll jump in my car
I won’t fill up the tank although I’m going far
And if somebody asks me if I’m going to a bar
I’ll say I’m shopping ‘cross the border in the USA
I don’t go down there to buy my groceries
I respect our farmers and our factories
I don’t believe that “local” means it’s poor in quality
It’s just our goddamn prices are too high
If he stays away for just two days
I’ll get one hundred dollars duty-free
If it adds to more I won’t claim it for
(He won’t declare the products if they’re in his trunk)
Although it is Canada that I call home
I don’t cheer for the Yankees when I’m in the Dome
I didn’t swell with pride during the Desert Storm
It’s just that I don’t want to pay the tax
(It’s just that he’s too cheap to pay the tax)
Yes, it’s just like this, he’s a loyalist
I’ll only shop at malls that fly our flag
(And he’ll tell Bob Rae that he just won’t pay)
Unless I need my unemployment benefits
(Get a job, get a job, get a job)
Now everyone is doing the same thing as me
They’re doing what they can to beat the GST
They’re lining up for miles at the Duty-Free
So I bought a JC Penny’s store in Buffalo
(So everybody come on down to Buffalo)
(Cause if you stay away for just two days)
You’ll get one hundred dollars duty-free
Though it’s not at par it’ll still go far
And it ends up in the pockets of a country man
(It ends up in the pockets of a country man)
–The Arrogant Worms, “The Canadian Crisis Song”
We should, as a nation, celebrate today.
Live rates at 2007.05.30 23:38:16 UTC
1.00 CAD = 0.931553 USD
I drew out $200 USD from the ATM this afternoon and was shocked to discover the exchange rate was this favorable for Canadians. Like, truly, completely shocked. I knew it was good — I don’t live in a cave, after all– but “flabbergast” might be one way to put it when confronted with the receipt in your hand. K. and I worked it out on the way home from the bank: If you live in BC and are visiting Washington this weekend, for instance, you “premium” for buying and spending US dollars is essentially $1 for every $100 you spend. The sales tax difference between here and Washington almost, but not quite, cancels out the cost of changing money. Which is still a whole heap better than paying the friggin’ prices in this province/country. (He cackled, planning on buying cheap gas, booze, and cigars while away this weekend.)
Still, as a keen student of Canadian history, I can’t help but wonder how long it’s going to take before the politicians begin once again to freak out over the high value of the Canadian dollar again, how long it will take Canadians who live in border communities to begin buying basic things across the border again, and how long it will be before someone (most likely Carol Skelton) begins to mutter darkly about cutting down on the ol’ shop n’ smuggle. Again, as though that needed saying.
I’m also eagerly awaiting the first major media complaint about the high dollar affecting our export industry — you know, because a weak dollar actually helps by allowing us to slut away our natural resources more efficiently…
Update: Whoops, too late.
“We’re devastated by their monetary policy, their tax policy and their terrible trade negotiations,” said Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, which organized the demonstration.
While Georgetti’s words were met with cheers, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion was booed loudly when he addressed the workers, many of whom take issue with the Liberals’ opposition to anti-scab legislation.
As protesters rallied outside, members of Parliament from all three opposition parties attacked the Conservative government in the House of Commons for not taking a more active role in saving jobs.
“The fact is we’re losing 150 jobs in the manufacturing sector every single day,” Layton said, his voice rising as he pointed his finger at Conservatives in the House.
“And yet we have no action on foreign takeovers, no action on the high dollar, no action on fair trade that would protect Canadian jobs … We’ve got no policy at all.”
Um. Yeah. “Protect Canadian jobs.” I guess that “lowest unemployment levels in 40 years” isn’t really protecting Canadian jobs, is it? (I’m hardly a friend of PC fiscal policy — I took a serious bath last fall on the income trust thing and am disinclined to give them the benefit of the doubt on this stuff — but let’s be real: We do not suck.)