LAW #1, "The Law of unintended results: Any law, rule, regulation or
sanction conceived with industrial age thinking reverses itself in a
communications age environment".
Canada will eventually, and sooner than expected, pay for the tricks
worked on its neighbors during past decades. Take border regulations.
Japanese tourists who visit our shores are allowed to purchase $4,000
worth of goods here to import back home tax and duty free. American
tourists, who account for 90 percent of the foreign tourist buying
action in Canada, can return home with $400 once a month after 48 hours
away and can even take in up to another $1,000 of goods by paying a
nominal 10 percent duty. For trips under 48 hours they are allowed to
bring back $25 worth anytime.
Canadians, however returning from any country are allowed only $20 if
we have been away more than 24 hours and $100 worth if we have been out
of the country more than 48 hours. Only once a year are we allowed to
bring back $300 worth and only then if we have been away more than seven
See the difference?
These regulations, or more correctly the political interpretation of
them, probably wouldn't have been changed for years except for the
recent Canadian government crack-down on cross-border shopping. Some
Americans say, since the Canadian government is preventing Canadians
from freely shopping in the U.S. why should Americans shop so liberally
in Canada? Imagine how this will effect Canadian retailers who do a
large volume of business with American and other tourists!
As the world globalizes, rules change due to the swing in effect made
by previous changes. Watch for backlash reactions affecting us all in
the near future. Governments, still stuck with old thinking patterns
will continually get into hot water and actions they thought would solve
one problem will under Rule #1, will make related problems worse.
Actions that begin on such relatively minor matters as tourist
shopping give strength to those who would extend reciprocity to larger
issues, running from how much does the U.S.A. spend to defend Canada, to
providing U.S. Coast Guard assistance inside Canadian territorial
waters, a matter that crops up almost every day here on the Canadian
It may never stop. The cost may be far higher than anticipated. Canada
shouldn't push its luck in such volatile times.
* * *
chapter index |
back to Main Chapter Listing
back to Home Page