Boat launch day thoughts
By Jim Poling Sr.
Getting the boat ready for spring launch can be stressful.
Will the motor start quickly and run smoothly after its winter hibernation? Did you remember to insert and secure the drain plug? Are the trailer lights shining and blinking, as they were when stored last fall?
Much to think about. Much to remember. No time for Made in China complications.
But there they are. The light switch I installed last summer falls apart when I give it a test flick. Made in China.
Neither trailer tail light burns brightly or blinks the way it is supposed to. Bulbs Made in China.
Boat launch day reminds me that we are a society smothered in cheap Made in China products. It is difficult to find much of anything – from toys to medicines to consumer electrics and even nuts and bolts and screws – that is not Made in China.
China is Canada’s second largest trading partner now. Since 2011 Canada-China bilateral total trade has grown by more than $50 billion and Canada’s trade deficit with China has grown to billions of dollars. In other words, we buy a lot more from China than we sell to it.
Much of what we buy from China is low cost, low quality junk not meant to last. Some of it is unhealthy and downright dangerous.
Some readers might recall the Made in China toys that contained unsafe levels of lead. Or the firecracker inspections that revealed that nearly 50 per cent of firecrackers sampled in 2017 didn’t pass product inspection and testing.
It is not that the Chinese are incapable of producing quality goods. Their factories turn out lower quality, inexpensive stuff for a reason: we North American consumers encourage them to because we want goods at lower prices.
When we buy cheap Chinese goods we forget – or ignore – how we are hurting ourselves. Much of what China is producing for our retail markets was invented and originally produced in North American factories. We have turned huge amounts of manufacturing over to China simply because they will produce it more cheaply.
Meanwhile, more of our factories close and our people have fewer jobs.
Maybe it is time to change our thinking. Begin thinking about paying more for goods produced at home; goods that will help to create the jobs needed to build and sustain strong communities, particularly in rural areas like Haliburton County.
Trade with China, and other global economies, is important and necessary. But there needs to be a balance, which in the case of China, certainly is missing.
China not only floods us with cheap products, it plays dirty and we respond in typical Canadian Milquetoast style. We are holding Hauwei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in house arrest under a legal agreement with the United States. We are following a rule of law, something that China seldom does.
In retaliation, China has imprisoned Canadians on trumped up charges, has suspended or cut back imports of Canadian canola and pork and has issued a travel advisory against Canada. It’s nasty and unlawful but that’s the way China operates.
Canada needs to get tough and fight back. And we don’t need to wait for our government. Citizens can get tough through their buying power.
The next time you purchase an item, determine if it is Made in China. If it is, ask if there is an alternative manufactured elsewhere. If there is, be willing to pay more for the alternative, especially if it is produced here at home.
We all like to pay less for the goods we buy but often we end up paying more for cheaper goods that don’t stand up and need to be replaced. Paying twice for a low quality item usually means paying more overall than for one quality item.
Also, there is growing comment that buying goods produced locally is better for the environment than buying goods produced abroad. Certainly Chinese manufacturing is no model of environmental awareness. China burns 47 per cent of the world’s coal to power its manufacturing plants.
Small consumer boycotts might seem ridiculously ineffective against a manufacturing giant. However, there are times in our lives when doing a little is far better than sitting back and doing nothing.