COLUMN: Working with our neighbours

As I write this we are 14 days from the U.S. election day.

As I write this we are 14 days from the U.S. election day.

I was at an event this morning and someone joked “Why should we care about the U.S. election?”

I can think of several reasons off the top of my head, the most obvious being that the US is our neighbour.

The decision made on Nov. 8 will plot the course of how we view each other.

We will either be dealing with a protectionist president looking to make his own mark or a president with much of the same policy as the predecessor and therefore status quo.

This election cycle has been the most unusual that I have witnessed and I don’t want to use this space to rehash all the Trumpisms and Crooked Hillary talk that dominates all other media.

I do want to touch on what I think is at the root of the discontent that we see across the U.S. and even Europe.

Protectionism.

We are seeing protectionism when trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are discussed by Donald Trump.

Trump calls NAFTA the worst trade deal ever signed.

In part because he believes the U.S. got the short end of the stick in the deal and lost countless jobs as a result.

That part is debatable but he is not alone in this sentiment.

Even in Europe we saw protectionism in the BREXIT vote, removing the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Right now, there is a proposed trade deal on the table for approval by the EU called Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

This particular deal would eliminate many of the tariffs levied between Canada and the EU countries.

One region of Belgium could derail the whole deal because they feel it threatens their subsidized dairy industry.

I believe we need to see the world as a large community. Instead of obstacles and protectionism, we need to find a way to compliment each other.

This relates locally to Summerland.

How can Summerland work with our neighbours to the north and south?

Many don’t think what happens in Penticton or Kelowna has any affect here but I disagree.

We all inhabit this valley together.

In the example of Kelowna, while it has many amenities, it is also a bustling concern.

For those not wishing to fight traffic or sprawl, they may look to Summerland as a viable alternative.

We should be looking to create a transit plan that would allow people to live here and work in Kelowna.

Perhaps high speed rail servicing all the communities from Osoyoos to Vernon.

If all the communities work together on the planning and cost, along with investment from the province and the federal government (are you reading this Dan x 2?), I think it could be done.

That would be one big project but the benefits to residents of this valley would be immeasurable.

We need to think of this valley as borderless and find our place in it.

Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.