Trump is wrong on the tariffs and so is Trudeau

President Donald Trump is met by Justin and Sophie Trudeau at the G7 conference.

I support Justin Trudeau on imposing retaliatory tariffs on the United States only in that he didn’t have any other option. Trump swung hard at Canada and plenty of other allies when he brought in tariffs.

Unlike Trudeau, I only care about Canada and Canadian jobs. The others can sort their own affairs out.

While Trump is wrong on the tariffs and should reconsider them rather than extend them to autos, he isn’t wrong about other factors. Like Canada’s existing tariffs on American goods.

No clean hands.

And by the same token, Canada can complain about American tariffs on products that we produce.

While Trump can complain about a 270% tariff on dairy imports to Canada, we can complain about a 350% tobacco tariff on Canadian tobacco entering the United States.

I’ve been saying for a long time that no country has clean hands on trade and all like to claim to be fair traders while protecting valuable or politically important industries. So it is here.

Canadians have long acted as if they are pure free traders and would never block another country’s product. The Americans of late are acting as if they are put upon by protectionist countries around the globe.

Both claims are false and both countries are protectionist when they want to be.

Go pure free trade.

When he went to Charlevoix, Trump said he was willing to go to a point of no tariffs, no restrictions, no subsidies. Pure free trade.

That would be a boon to Canada and Canadian industry. If he actually said it, Trudeau should have seized on it and said, “Yes, let’s do this!”

Except he can’t.

Because he can’t say no to the dairy lobby.

I know there are only 12,000 dairy farms in Canada but I also know there are billions of dollars in loans and equity tied up with Canada’s big banks that are related to those farms. That is the secret to what makes the dairy lobby so powerful.

Yet even this powerful lobby, long in the sights of the Americans, may have to bend for the greater good. Trump has made it clear that he won’t accept a 270% tariff on a major American agricultural good if we want a trade deal.

Trump is now also linking defence spending and trade deals. You may not think they are connected but if the guy you are negotiating with does, you better deal with that. Especially since Canadian defence spending is low.

Trump got elected on a promise to upend these trade deals and fight for a better deal for the American workers. That is what he is doing. You can argue with him over his tactics but he sees this as his mission.

If we want a deal, and we need a deal, we better figure out how to make it mesh with his mission.


  • Forgotten in all of this is that Trudeau threw on all kinds of Tariffs on US goods when he first took office.
    Trump had made this point but Protectionist anti American Canadian media is not repoting on it.