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Hearth & Home October 2018

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Perspective: O Canada

“O Canada: You had it coming, eh. You inflicted Nickelback on us. We did nothing. You sent us Justin Bieber. We turned the other cheek. You were responsible for one abomination after the other: Poutine. Diphthong vowels. Hawaiian pizza. Instant mashed potatoes. Ted Cruz. Still, we did not retaliate – until now.

“Given Canadians’ well-known instability – their currency is called the ‘loonie’ – there can only be one solution: We are going to build a wall from Maine to Alaska – and Ottawa is going to pay.”

Dana Milbank, Washington Post columnist – joking, of course!

When the word “tariff” was first raised, all heads turned toward China. After all, they’re the country that plays fast and loose with its currency, and treats other patents as if they were their own.

But, nooo! Canada, not China, was the target of our president’s first punishing tariff. It was a 20% tariff on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, of which we bring in approximately $5.66 billion worth every year.

Writing in Forbes, contributor Frances Coppola calculated that Trump’s “trade restrictions add an estimated $50 to $80 per thousand board feet to the price of lumber, which drives up costs and shrinks profits for lumber users. The resulting addition of $800 to $1,300 to the cost of a new home prices some 300,000 U.S. families out of the housing market, denying them the dream of home ownership.”

Are You Shunning U.S. Made Goods
in retaliation for President Trump’s tariffs on wood, steel, and aluminum?
Years Retailing Hearth
Are Your Customers Shunning U.S. Made Goods
in retaliation for President Trump’s tariffs on wood, steel, and aluminum?
Number of Stores Operated

Since that time, tariffs on both steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) have been added, and Mexico and the European Union are now on the list.

Of course, the pain of these tariffs is being felt, not only in the States, but obviously in Canada.

Which brings us to the “Buy Canadian” movement underway up north, and make no mistake, this is a movement that could (will?) have a very lengthy impact. Owners of hearth, patio, and/or barbecue specialty shops tell us that they, and their customers, are rejecting goods made in the States, and instead buying Canadian-made products.

A survey recently conducted by Hearth & Home shows that 60% of Canadian specialty stores are shunning U.S.-made goods in retaliation for the tariffs imposed by Trump. A greater percentage of their customers – 76% – are doing the same thing.

In case you missed it …

In 1995, director Michael Moore made a movie titled “Canadian Bacon.” The premise was as follows: The U.S. economy is in a rut, and so is the president’s approval rating. (Sound familiar?) What is needed is a good war, but Russia (Vladimir Putin?) is not interested.

“Hey,” says his chief of staff, “how about we invade that big, polite country to the north?”

You can get it on Netflix; the premise is better than the movie.

Bonne nuit et bonne chance,

More Stories in this Issue

Canada: An Introduction

By Richard Wright

The Canadian economy appears to be doing well, and the 15% tax imposed on foreign homebuyers in Vancouver seems to be having a positive effect.

» Continue

Not Too Bad

By Tom Lassiter

Currency imbalance, Trump’s tariffs, the “Buy Canadian” movement – patio manufacturers are smiling, retailers not so much.

» Continue

Canadian I-Que

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Pizza ovens, built-in grills, and Outdoor Rooms are hot; Prop. 65, and tariffs are lurking.

» Continue

Shrine of Barbecue

By Lisa Readie Mayer

In Ottawa, partners have created a retail juggernaut with in-depth staff training, great customer service, and a fun atmosphere, and now they're heading south (Florida?).

» Continue

2018 August Business Climate

In early September, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare August 2018 sales to August 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 196 useable returns.

» Continue