As Trump makes more threats will Trudeau listen or act?

Justin Trudeau walks with Donald Trump at the White House.

Donald Trump is once again threatening tariffs and trade action against allies, including Canada. Now before you pull out your Team Canada hockey jersey and head to the border to threaten Americans with a hockey stick, stop and look at what he is saying.

I know that is tough for people, especially many in our media that just jump up and down and beat their chest over anything Trump says but……that won’t help the millions of Canadians that rely on access to the U.S. market for their jobs.

On Friday night, while most of us had checked out into weekend mode, Trump tweeted this.

That is aimed directly at the Europeans, it doesn’t mention us but should still be a warning.

On Sunday he tweeted this.

And that is aimed at us.

One of the things that is overlooked from Trump’s news conference before he left the G7 is that he said publicly that he wants to take down all tariffs and trade barriers. The president said he wants real free trade among the world’s biggest democratic economies.

We’ve never had that, even the Canada-U.S. free trade deal was managed trade. They protected corn farmers and others, we protected banks, telecom, cultural industries and the like.

But Trump actually said he would take down all tariffs, barriers and importantly subsidies if Canada and the others would do the same.

Of course we haven’t and he hasn’t and the threat of more tariffs keeps going up. He should stop but he won’t and if you were in his shoes you wouldn’t either with headlines like this

Love Trump or hate Trump we have to deal with this man for the next two years at least. If the American economy stays on the tear it is on now, we will likely need to deal with the Trump administration until 2024.

So that means that if we want access to the American market? The U.S. is still the destination for more than 75% of our exports which means we need to deal with Trump and his priorities.

Can Justin Trudeau do that?

I have my doubts.

When the Trump administration said they were worried about Chinese steel being passed off as Canadian when it was shipped through Canada, we didn’t act for a year.

The Americans told us in April of 2017 that they wanted this dealt with and we did nothing until May 30, 2018, the day before the tariffs when Bill Morneau finally moved to put in regulations on the file.

Last week we learned that we could have avoided the tariffs all together. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaking before a Senate committee meeting in D.C. said if we had acted sooner, no tariffs.

“The only way we’re going to solve the global steel overproduction and overcapacity is by getting all the other countries to play ball with us,” Ross said on Wednesday.

“And while they’re complaining bitterly about the tariffs, the fact is they’re starting to take the kind of action, which, if they had taken sooner, would have prevented this crisis.”

That is incredibly important. If we had not waited until May 30 we could have avoided these 25% tariffs on Canadian steel. All we had to do was stop letting Chinese steel be passed off as Canadian.

So the important question to ask is, as Donald Trump is making other threats, is Justin Trudeau listening?

Experience tells me we should doubt that.


  1. Sounds as if there should be no more ‘personal days’ (for anyone) for quite some time.
    [Trump’s free-trade for all economies is preferable to Trudeau’s no-trade for the Canadian economy)

  2. I have little confidence in Trudeau’s ability to negotiate serious trade deals with anyone,but especially the USA. It’s quite obvious the American administration is rightly contemptuous of Canada’s politicians,though I don’t know their opinion of the actual negotiators such as Verheul, but he’s just an employees,Freeland and Trudeau make the final decisions.

    The upcoming NATO summit is going to be very interesting after the G-7 in Quebec that ended with so much animosity between Trump and Trudeau. Perhaps Trudeau believe he can “sunny ways” his Party to a victory in a snap election due to anti-Trump sentiment in Canada.

    I don’t think that will work, believe Canadians have become increasingly aware of Trudeau’s embarrassing amateurism in every aspect of his job as Prime Minister.

    This isn’t 2015.

  3. During my working life as an importer to Canada, I found that many many products were made elsewhere and just rebranded “Made in USA” They came from Mexico, Germany, Italy Pakistan and China primarily. To make matters worse there were often exclusive arrangements to sell only to America and that restricted trade in Canada to only those companies that the US distributors considered worthy.I doubt that has changed or that if it still exists Trump will address in his fair trade malarkey.
    So Trudeau with his fancy socks and obtrusive social demands on the Tariff deal along with his trash Talk about Trump have, for the meantime, sealed Canada’s fate.

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