Only in Canada, you say

To those who have read my columns in the past it will come as no surprise that I still climb up on my tired donkey, grab my cardboard lance and tilt again against the windmills of Canadian apathy, Canadian lack of pride, and Canadian roll-me-over-and-tickle-my-tummy attitude.

We are being decimated by NAFTA and Globalization and follow meekly behind big international corporations. Oh! the latter is not strictly true. I should have said ” certain international (less Canadian and other developing country) corporations.”

One of my tirades did, in fact, invoke a response from someone who epitomizes what I preach against. He said he would always buy a Canadian product but only if it did not “harm” him. In other words he would not sacrifice for the good of the country.

People like that really need a wake up call, and funnily enough it was my daughter, Keri, who sent me a piece of e-mail doing the rounds that I thought illustrated my points. Now, you have to understand that my background has been selling “high-tech” products manufactured in the U.S. into Canada except for one bout of selling Canadian made APL laptops a long time before even PCs were available, as well as a remote job entry machine that blew the doors off anything the States had (oh yes, one large Canadian beer company turned us down – “no track record”).

But that’s another story!

Anyway, my daughter pointed out that I would never be a real Canadian as I was a card-carrying dyed-in-the-wool British “colonialist”. I agreed, but pointed out that British colonialists always fought for the rights of the countries in which they served.

She agreed that I was more concerned by Canada’s lack of gumption than the true “n” generation Canadians. So this is when she hit me with this superb little dissertation. It is so true but unfortunately it will fly over the heads of too many people.

“Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6 a.m. While his coffee pot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) and continued his search for a good paying CANADIAN JOB. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day, Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN ITALY) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can’t find a good paying job in – CANADA…”

Can you imagine what would happen if we all decided to buy only Canadian goods, and they are out there, or NOT buy at all? And please do not give me that Global economy garbage.

Robinson has been involved with high-tech Canadian start-up companies – including Cisco, Sytek and Comten – for more than 30 years. He can be reached at