Canada Day!

Canada, Canada Day, Trump. tariffsThere is nothing I like being more than a Canadian. My compatriots may drive me crazy but our disagreements are political rather than patriotic.

Sadly, our current federal government thinks it can win an election – in a year – by picking a fight with our friends in the US. The PMO’s polling tells them that Canadians a) can’t stand Trump, b) will rally around a PM who stands up for Canada no matter how wrong we might be. I suspect that polling is right but premature.

No one wins a trade war and today the smartypants Liberals are embarking on a series of deliberately political retaliatory tariffs designed to hit Republicans where it hurts, at the polling booth. There are many things wrong with this strategy beginning with the fact it won’t work. Tariffing soy sauce because North America’s largest soy sauce plant is in retiring GOP speaker Paul Ryan’s district looks clever but isn’t. After all, at best, that plant ships about 10% of its production to Canada. Our tariff will be an annoyance rather than a game changer. And just as Canadians claim to be willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with Trudeau in opposing the Trump monster, Americans are perfectly capable of supporting the industries we target.

Canadians win when we come up with creative compromises. Flat out telling the US that we will not accept a five year sunset clause on NAFTA is stupidly beligerent. Intelligent compromise would have created a process – general review at 6 years, sectoral review at eight based on the general review and the possiblilty of revision at 10. It’s boring but it is very Canadian. Same thing with the steel and aluminum tariff. Figure out what the Americans are actually after (likely an end to the transhipment of Chinese commodity steel) and figure out how to make that happen while enhancing the Canadian position.

Unfortunately, this very Canadian approach is not very sexy. It is not going to save a floundering Liberal government. To do that, the geniuses in the PMO realize they somehow have to cast the next election as a referendum on Trump rather than a review of the Trudeau government’s meager list of accomplishments. To that end picking a fight with the US seemed like a good idea.

It isn’t.

With a year in hand, the US can pretty much destroy the Canadian economy and flatten what manufacturing is left in Ontario. They don’t need to do much, just impose a 20% tariff on all cars coming into the US and fail to exempt Canada. Boom, done. Like the rest of the world, Canada enjoys access to the American market because we have negotiated that access and the Americans, to date, have had no particularily compelling reason to restrict that access. Indeed, up until the fracking revolution, there was a strategic reason to keep Canadian oil and gas flowing to the US. That reason has gone.

It is a Canadian pasttime to bash Americans. All the more so with Trump in office. Where that comes from is not obvious but the reserves of anti-Americanism in Canada are, apparently, bottomless. And those reserves are filling fast as the American economy under Trump revives and thrives in contrast to Canada’s. I have no idea if Trump is Making America Great Again, however he is, unambigously, making America Rich Again. And he is doing that through tax cuts and deregulation which are anathema to the economic illiterates who surround Trudeau and infest the Finance Department. Normally, when the US economy surges, Canada enjoys a knockon effect. But between nitwit “carbon taxes” and unnecessary “trade wars” and an apparent inability to build pipelines, Canada is going in the opposite direction.

Between now and next Canada Day I suspect it is a good bet that Canada will make itself poorer. The only question is how much poorer.

If the PMO and the Liberal Party really think they will be able to run against Trump in a little over a year they have to pray that he does not continue to deliver jobs, growth, prosperity and a reassertion of American might internationally. They have to hope Trump will, somehow, be impeached, or lose the mid-terms decisively, or have his economic policies crash or walk into some other disaster – because if Trump’s successes continue and the Democrats fail to win big in November, he is going to be a much less attractive target.

Yes, if Trump does tariff cars at 20% he’ll be demonized all over the world. But where it counts, in the car plants in Ontario and in the parts manufactories, there is not going to be much left. Rail at Trump all you want, the fact is that it will be Trudeau who was dumb enough to poke the bear for political points.

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoy our National Holiday. And then I hope all my American readers enjoy July 4. In a year, we will still be celebrating Canada Day but, unless our politicians smarten up, we will be a poorer and less consequential nation than we are now. And, worse, that condition may very well be permenant as our jobs flow south.

This Canada Day our situation is serious but, with intelligence, not fatal. Next year?

Happy Canada Day!

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10 thoughts on “Canada Day!

  1. derek says:

    If that is what they plan to run on, they are beyond stupid veering into the delusional.

    A different take. At one time the US media at large represented the opinions of the US citizenry. Broadly with obvious exceptions. You could get a reasonable and pretty close view on what people were doing and thinking.

    The Canadian policy makers in the Liberal party are talking to people in the US who oppose Trump. Not hard, just go to Washington DC, and what they are saying is confirmed by what they read in the NYT, Washington Post, and on the TV news. None of these people paid the slightest bit of attention to anything Trump said during the campaign.

    From their standpoint he is a temporary interloper that will be gone soon. Then everything will get back to the way it was before.

    I don’t think so. I suspect that over the next year and a half every long nurtured contact of influence in Washington won’t be there anymore. Their sources of information are dangerously wrong.

    I suspect that quite a few of the provincial premiers already swearing at their Federal counterparts and pretty close to sending a baseball bat delegation.

    The Ontario Liberals and media tried that on Ford. If standing up for Canadians makes them poorer, they are in for an equivalent humiliation.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “and what they are saying is confirmed by what they read in the NYT, Washington Post, and on the TV news.

      ‘Confirmation bias’ they call it (or something similar). You’re right, though…they not only don’t understand Trump, they don’t understand his supporters either. The US economy is booming , unemployment is at an almost 20-year low, Foreign investment if flooding in and Donald Trump’s approval rating continues to climb (albeit slowly). If this all continues, Trump won’t be going anywhere any time soon
      And that’s going to make more than a few Liberal heads explode.:)

      I’ll never understand how Liberals can be so totally unable to accept (or even understand) that others might not share their views. It’s completely alien to them. They not only can’t understand why you don’t share their opinions, they don’t even think you should be allowed to *have* a contrary opinion. Worse still, they are so thoroughly convinced of the righteousness of their cause that they simply refuse to change their childish, ineffective tactic of hurling abuse and insults at Donald Trump and *anyone who supports him* (no matter what the reason for that support.

      Tell them that people in the Rust Belt states voted Trump to try and restore their jobs, and the liberals will respond with “Nope…They’re ALL RACISTS and BIGOTS and MISOGYNISTS!” That’s their narrative, and they are going to stick with it until the lose the next election as well. Looks good on them.

    • Cytotoxic says:

      “From their standpoint he is a temporary interloper that will be gone soon. Then everything will get back to the way it was before.”

      There’s every reason to think he’ll be gone. He’s between Carter and post-pardon Ford in terms of trajectory. I’m just terrified of what comes next. There’s really not much in the way of the hard left at this point. We might just be relying on Clinton and Feinstein to guard us.

  2. Neil Wilson says:

    Couldn’t agree more. What I wrote some weeks ago (on fb).

    ——————————–

    When Skippy finally blows the NAFTA file, and he will, auto tariffs will cause the loss of 160,000 jobs and plunge the economy into recession, if not depression. He may seem like Captain Canada to some but not this puppy: he tried to push social issues into a trade deal which caused great hilarity and demonstrated his true colours as a weak virtue signaler; he refused to look at a bilateral deal which would have been best at this stage; he couldn’t shuffle fast enough when Trump gave him the sunset clause and proceeded to insult the President by reading his prepared tough-guy speaking notes which really pissed off POTUS; and, he won’t put supply management on the table to save the autopact because it will enrage his political base in Quebec – Trump needs supply management gone to placate the Wisconsin farmers who put his Electoral College count over the top which put Trump in the White House. Don’t be fooled. This is Skippy’s f$%@ up to wear.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “he tried to push social issues into a trade deal which caused great hilarity and demonstrated his true colours as a weak virtue signaler;”

      That went over particularly poorly in China, for sure. He seems to over-estimate Canada’s actual importance on the world stage…remember that embarrassing “Canada is back!” line?

  3. Cytotoxic says:

    “the American economy under Trump revives and thrives in contrast to Canada’s”

    Bzzt. US growth continues to be anemic and not significantly better than Canada’s. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-28/u-s-first-quarter-gdp-growth-revised-down-to-2-on-services

    There goes your fantasy. Oh and there’s every reason to believe the Dems are going to make headway in November. They might even take the House.

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