If you’re watching Canadian TV these days, chances are you’ve seen the ad for a pair of Vancouver 2010 red mittens ($10/pair, net proceeds go toward supporting Canadian athletes, etc.) Now I may not be an expert when it comes to knitted mittens, but my wife certainly is, and we knew right away that $10 a pair can mean only one thing: Made in China. A suspicion that was promptly confirmed when I found some blog postings from people who bought a pair.
Which forces me to refrain from asking the rhetorical question, “Am I the only one?…” since obviously I’m not the only one troubled by the fact that we outsource the making of maple leafs to China, but I have yet to see either a journalist or a politician comment.
And no, I don’t want to start a populist, protectionist tirade, since I despise populism and protectionism. And yes, the Olympics is supposed to be international in spirit and all that. Still, I do think it’d have been appropriate to have those mittens made in Canada. Sure, it’d have been more expensive. But, it’d have helped not only Canadian athletes, but also Canadian communities harmed by the recession. Or how about having some of them made in Canada, a “special edition” if you wish, sold at a higher price to those who want them and who think it’s proper to pay workers at (minimum) Canadian wages? As things stand, you can’t even compete with the Chinese imports even if you wanted to… the Olympic logo is a fiercely protected trademark.