RADIA: Shoppers, you’re bad Canadians

I know this is going to be unpopular but I’m just going to come out and say it: Cross-border shoppers are unpatriotic.

Those of you who regularly go into Bellingham or Seattle to shop for groceries, clothes, electronics or gas are costing our economy billions of dollars a year and thousands of jobs while killing hundreds of mom-and-pop businesses.

And there are a lot of you out there.

A recent survey by Insights West suggests that 74% of Metro Vancouverites made at least one cross-border shopping trip in the past year, about 50% made three or more treks to the U.S. and 15% drove south 13 or more times.

Our cross-border shopping junkets cost our province’s retail sector as much as $2.6 billion in the last year and nationally over $20 billion.

And it’s getting worse.

According to a report recently publicized by Liberal Sen. Pierrette Ringuette, new rules that increase cross-border duty exemptions will result in an additional $340 million in duty-free shopping a year, a decrease in sales tax revenue of $40 million and thousands of job losses.

That’s a lot of money escaping from our economy. And for what? So, we can save a few bucks on gas or pennies on a jug of milk?

I find it especially odd that my colleague opposite is such a proponent of cross-border shopping. He’s typical of a lot of socialists: On the one hand, he prefers to burden our businesses with higher taxes and unsustainable minimum wages; on the other, when those businesses are forced to charge higher prices to pay those expenses, he flees to the United States to do his shopping.

He wants to find more money for teachers and city councillors but then advocates for shopping in the U.S., which costs the government hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

With all due respect, Jim, can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e?

I know I’ll be doing my Christmas shopping this year at Coquitlam Centre instead of Bellis Fair. I’ll even pay visits to some of my favourite mom-and-pop stores on Shaughnessy and on Austin Heights.

I hope more of you join me and think about the true economic consequences before heading south.

Let’s all be good Canadians.


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