Some Canadians tuning in to hear U.S. President Joe Biden’s state of the union address Tuesday night may have been surprised, and possibly a little disconcerted, about how much prominence he gave to his Buy American initiatives.
It was the perfect forum for a president hobbled by sinking approval numbers and facing congressional losses in the 2022 midterms to champion an idea that enjoys broad support at home. But it did raise questions whether Canadian businesses, already anxious about these protectionist provisions, should be more concerned following Biden’s remarks.
Maryscott Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council in Washington, D.C., said Buy American is part of Biden’s “DNA as leader.” “He’s pretty clearly campaigned on it. His legislative package is all about it. He talks about it in every opportunity,” she said.
Christopher Sands, director of the Wilson Center Canada Institute, said that it’s an issue where Biden has shown consistency, and that it’s part of his “blue collar appeal.” “This is one of those phrases that resonates with Congress and with voters. [He] tried to use it to send a signal, not necessarily to Canadians, but to voters.”
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