The time has come for North American monetary union, Konrad Yakabuski argues in his weekend essay, saying the move is essential for Canadian prosperity.
"If countries as disparate as France, Finland, Italy and Ireland could do it, why couldn't two countries as economically and culturally integrated as Canada and the U.S?" he asks.
Mr. Yakabuski writes that North American monetary union, or NAMU as it was dubbed, has long been a political no-no. Canadian economic nationalists equated common currency with a loss of sovereignty.
"If the past decade has taught us anything, though, it is that Canada enjoys all the inconveniences of a floating exchange rate and independent monetary policy, with precious few of the benefits," Mr. Yakabuski writes. "The protracted low-dollar period wrought an unprecedented widening of the gap between Canadian and U.S. productivity levels, and has left our economy (outside the resource sector) painfully uncompetitive as our currency nears parity with the U.S. dollar."
If the U.S. dollar is now in secular decline against other global currencies, as many argue, then Canada needs to get with it and start negotiating with Washington, Mr. Yakabuski writes.
"Canada could just adopt the U.S. dollar and be done with it," he writes. "But we would be better off with a formal currency union that allowed for some Canadian representation, and influence, in the Federal Reserve System."
Mr. Yakabuski took reader questions in a live discussion. Thanks to everyone who contributed questions and comments.
Konrad Yakabuski has written on Quebec business, politics and culture for The Globe and Mail since 1996. He previously worked as a political reporter at Le Devoir. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from McGill University and a Master of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of British Columbia.
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