Trading nations: Fulbrights and McGill

Trading nations: Fulbrights and McGill McGill University

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McGill Reporter
November 13, 2003 - Volume 36 Number 05
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 36: 2003-2004 > November 13, 2003 > Trading nations: Fulbrights and McGill

Trading nations: Fulbrights and McGill

Joelle Schmitz is going to be trading her allegiance to L.L. Bean for either Mountain Equipment Co-op or Kanuk this winter. The Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholar has come up to Montreal to spend a year studying the trade and public policy of our great white north.

"In many ways, it's easier for Quebec to trade with New York State than with other provinces," she said. "There are interprovincial regulations on everything from the colour of margarine to the recognition of accountants." These barriers cost an average Canadian family up to $1,000 a year. Canada's trade practices are partly due to its social history, Schmitz suspects, particularly its cultural dualism. Currently at a crossroads, the direction Canadian trade takes will affect both our country's prosperity and global position.

Schmitz studied trade paradigms at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, but knows McGill from a semester spent here as an exchange student in the nineties.

The Fulbright Program was born out of the strife of World War II. Senator J. William Fulbright wanted to find a way to foster intercultural understanding and friendship, so he started up the U.S. government— sponsored exchange program between America and other countries. Over 250,000 scholars have participated since then, and a Canadian office opened in 1990. McGill has been host to 26 Fulbrighters, and has sent 19 to the States.

Schmitz believes her project on the interdependence of trade and nations is very much in the spirit of Fulbright's original vision. Nations bond through healthy trade relationships. "Senator Fulbright always contended that national vanity could lead to war. But this is a civilized way for countries to compete -- through trade, not brute force," she says.

Schmitz believes that Canada's practices can have an impact on future trade policy between other countries, too. She wants to explore ways to reduce regulatory barriers and facilitate negotiations in which regulation authority is properly balanced between trade partners. The executive director of the Canada—U.S. program, Michael Hawes, says that Schmitz's research "will contribute in important ways to the literature on international trade."

Schmitz plans to talk with government officials, academics and business leaders, then present her findings to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade before returning to the States to continue trade research. "I'll spend a lot of time on the highway between Montreal and Ottawa," she says. First, she'll have to get a set of snow tires.

Another U.S. Fulbright Scholar at McGill is Dr. Zeenat Khan, of Boston, Massachusetts, who is conducting research on extended family systems among Canadians of South Asian origin at McGill's Centre for Applied Family Studies. As well, McGill law professor Richard Janda is the Fulbright—Michigan State University Chair in Canadian Studies, where he is researching aviation security as a public good.

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