I often want to "buy local" or "buy canadian" and I will if the price difference isn't huge. But so often something I want is $150 in a local shop, or $100 online. $100 from a canadian online store, or $60 from an american one. Even with the insane US shipping rates it ends up cheaper.
I'd be happy to pay 10% more or so to just swing down to a local shop to get what i'm looking for, but when I end up having to pay almost double it's insane.
I know a way around insane shopping and brokerage costs - an Island solution! There's an outfit out near the airport called Seawings International. You register with them and address your package in your name, c/o Seawings, to their receiving centre in Blaine, WA. They freight it "in bond" to their YYJ location. You go to the CBSA office with your receipt and clear the item yourself. I think you always end up paying customs.
The cost? $17 for a 5lb shipment and then $0.45 per lb. Beats FedEx, ferry to Point Roberts, etc. It's also per SHIPMENT, not package. So if your amazon order is 12 items large, it's $17+, not $17 per+.
As an example, I'm having a complete exhaust (downpipe, racepipe and catback, the largest piece) shipped up here from California. Getting just the downpipe and racepipe shipped to my door is $65 - and that's without the heaviest catback.
Total cost for everything to Sidney, via Seawings? $55 to Blaine and another $37 to YYJ. You have to figure on your typical amazon order with free shipping, you're only paying Seawings.
They have a website, so feel free to Google them.