Actual trade issues aside, NAFTA makes it easier for certain professionals to cross the border for jobs, going either way. Our infamous "brain drain" is a problem, no question. But if these people stayed home, would there be any more jobs for them, would they create more jobs here, or would they just take al the good jobs, increase competition, and therefore make it harder for mediocre people like me to get a job? I for one hope all the good journalists and writers go to New York. Then Toronto will be desperate for mediocre-skilled people.
The real thing, as far as employment goes, is that as Canadians we are completely dependent on the US economy. It's not like these people are off working for the Saudis or something. Yes, we lose their tax dollars, but chances are a Canadian company wouldn't have paid them much or given them much opportunity. Or more to the point, our tax laws don't make it worthwhile to bet your time, life, and money on a new venture, so it's better to work for someone else. and the American someone elses pay more. If they are working for themselves and helping the US economy at the same time it doesn't hurt us. We do not play a zero-sum game with the American economy, rather we tend to mirror it. If it crashes, we die. The question is; when it does well, how well can we do by it too?
It would be better if we could get American capital into our country and keep our brains here. But we generally don't have enough capital to make a run of it (and the rewards for making it are lower) and in most parts of the country we don't have enough concentration of skills-brains to make a go of it. Remember, in most cases, when a Canadian goes to work for an American company he is working with a load of Americans, he is not working alone. He is part of a larger unit.
There are obvious exeptions to this. For example Doctors, who benefit from
(relatively) cheap, but extremely high-quality medical education in Canadian
universities should be forced to repay that with at the very leasty a certain
amount of time spent practicing in the Canadian system. The problem is if you
start to put too many caveats on a person's education then you uindermine
individual liberty, and the fredom of choice and thought that makes western
civilization what it is, for better or worse.
But I digress.
In terms of the brain drain, it is bad if you look at it as an "us and them" situation where we lose a lot if someone goes to work down there. And in some cases we definitely lose, if for instance someone who trained to be a nurse or doctor in Canada (with tax-subsdized univesity) goes and immediately practices in the states, we have lost a lot in that investment. But it isn't as bad as some make it seem. Some people stay here because they don't want to go elsewhere. And some people can only fufill their potential by going to the States (Jack Warner couldn't have started Warner Bros. pictures in London, Ontario).
And in the end, we all know that Vansite [The US] is doomed. We Canadians have infiltrated every aspect of American life and Commerce. Christ, if a Chinese-American scientist with family in Communist China could go to work at Los Alamos and get access to the most sensitive of weapons technolgy, just imagine where all of our people are. The day will come when there are no americans in any position of importance in the States. We will be in control.
James Scott Vickers 10/30/2000