Prime Minister Justin Trudeau landed right in the center of America’s eagles nest this week … and despite the often wild, aggressive nature of the current Washington Alpha eagle … Trudeau and Canada emerged fairly unscathed.
At least for now.
President Donald Trump went out of his way to praise the special, long relationship of co-operation and … this IS important … acknowledged the benefits of the high integration of the US and Canadian economies …. and although he wants NAFTA reviewed and changed … he made clear his real focus/concerns will be directed at Mexico.
Trudeau stood on guard for Canada and not only its industries and cross-border trade but also its values, its liberal values and its willingness to welcome refugees, including 37,000 from Syria.
Perhaps it was Trudeau’s refusal, when asked by a reporter to react to the US rejection of refugees, but Trump stood there and took the Prime Minister’s reiteration of Canada’s clearly different views …. and remarkably restrained his penchant for reacting rapidly and roughly when disagreed with or challenged.
And the US President said what many Canadians hoped he would: that his administration will work to EXPAND and SPEED UP northern border crossings by goods, commerce … and people.
“ We understand that both of our countries are stronger when we join forces in matters of international commerce. Having more jobs and trade right here in North America is better for both the United States and is also much better for Canada. We should co-ordinate closely and we will co-ordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent and to keep everyone safe,” Trump stated.
“I pledge to work with you in pursuit of our many shared interests. This includes a stronger trading relationship between the United States and Canada. It includes safe, efficient and responsible cross-border travel and migration,” the US President added.
And just in case Trump is unaware, Trudeau pointed out 35 U.S. states list Canada as their largest export market and our economies benefit from the over $2 billion in two-way trade that takes place every single day.
Knowing what we do about Trump, after watching their public exchanges, I did come away with the feeling Canadians can breathe easier and sleep better … at least somewhat … as Trump turns his trade tirades on others.
There’s no doubt American protectionism, nationalism, tax reductions, regulatory and and environmental reductions will pose some problems for Canadian businesses and industries … but not likely insurmountable ones.
The coming negotiations on softwood lumber , interestingly, will test that theory.