Que. restaurant boycotting American goods in trade dispute
A restaurant in Gatineau, Que. is choosing not to buy California wine or other American goods in support of Canadians caught in the middle of a tense trade dispute with the United States.
LaLa Bistro announced Tuesday on Facebook it was indefinitely suspending California wines from its menu in protest of harsh U.S. tariffs imposed on Canadians.
“We have to do something,” Carole Lajeunesse, co-owner of the restaurant, told CTV Ottawa. “Enough is enough.”
Since the announcement, they’ve received hundreds of supportive messages and even some new customers.
“We agree with what they're doing here,” Danielle Savard, a LaLa Bistro customer, said in French. “That's why we came here to this restaurant today. Why not show our support by eating here?”
LaLa Bistro is just one example of Canadian consumers fighting back against American tariffs by boycotting goods from the U.S.
Earlier this week, several Twitter hashtags-- including #BuyCanadian, #BoycottUSProducts and #BoycottUSA--emerged as ways for Canadians to show their support for local products and to offer tips for avoiding American goods.
Trade tensions reached new heights last weekend during the G7 summit in Quebec when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would “not be pushed around” by U.S. President Donald Trump and his tariffs.
Trump reacted shortly later on Twitter, calling Trudeau “dishonest” and “weak” and later added Trudeau’s statements would cost Canadians “a lot of money.” Trump staffers echoed the president’s sentiment, including White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who said “there’s a special place in hell” for Trudeau. He later called the comment a “mistake.”
While it might be tough for Canadians to boycott American goods at the grocery store, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, suggests buying poultry is a good way to ensure you’re buying Canadian goods.
“Turkey, chicken, eggs and milk are made and distributed in Canada,” he told CTV News.
Canadians can also choose to buy Leamington, Ont.-based French’s Ketchup instead of its American counterpart Heinz, or follow LaLa Bistro’s lead and buy local wine instead of bottles produced at California wineries.
Adam Taylor, a former adviser to former International Trade Minister Ed Fast, has doubts about whether a boycott of American goods will harm American businesses.
“It won’t have much of an impact, just because the U.S. is such a massive economy,” he said in conversation with CTV’s Your Morning. “At the end of the day, it’s a good symbolic way for Canada to stand together and show solidarity against these types of punitive trade actions, but that’s about it.”
Taylor suggests Canadians should diversify trade into other areas of the world, such as Europe and Asia, instead of relying so heavily on the United States.
Chris Sands, senior research professor at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Canadian Studies, said a boycott might actually do more harm than good.
“Most American farmers want to keep NAFTA going (and) want to keep trade with Canada going, so you would first be hurting people who are on your side,” he told CTV News.
With a report from CTV News’ Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon and CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr