J. Stewart Cook

“It was a brief call, but it was a strong beginning to what is going to be a constructive relationship,” Prime Minister Trudeau said during a news conference in Sydney, N.S., this morning.

Asked by reporters how he would explain to children that a “sexist, racist, bully” was taking office, Trudeau stressed the need to promote a strong working relationship with anyone who the American people elect.

It’s important to work constructively with whomever is President because “that’s what Canadians expect,” he said. The PM said Canada has “no closer friend, ally, and partner than the United States.” “We look forward to working very closely with President-elect Trump, his administration, and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security.”

He said the Canada-U.S. relationship “serves as a model for the world.” Trudeau said it is time for Canada to work with the U.S., and urged Americans to “come together.” “We share a purpose, our two countries, where we want to build places where the middle class and those working hard to join it have a chance,” he said. Our shared values, deep cultural ties, and strong integrated economies will continue to provide the basis for advancing our strong and prosperous partnership.”

And all that from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau…a LIBERAL!

Now just a minute. Excuse me, please! I just read several paragraphs, all statements from Canada’s Prime Minister about the USA and President-elect Donald Trump and you’re telling me he is a Liberal. I did not see one scintilla of liberalism in his statements. Are we talking about the same Prime Minister or has he gone through a “political” conversion that could only happen through “Divine Intervention?” Perhaps he is a “closet” Republican? No, no, just a populist!

Without quoting President Donald Trump directly, with respect to his thoughts/views of PM Justin Trudeau or Canadians, let me say this on his behalf. “Oh, they’re nice folk, nice people, always polite and apologetic. I won’t say they are “simple” in the event it may be interpreted as being  “simple minded” or a “simpleton.” I’ve already had my share of “jeers” and “barbs” here in the US when I have commented on groups or individuals!

Like so many countries around the world, Canada has it’s fair share of political pundits, media personalities, scholars, (supposedly) experts, consultants and just your average joe, who all have something to say about the 2016 USA election and President Donald Trump. Aside from the ad infinitum and ad nauseam rhetoric we have heard since the election, and possible consequences under President Trump, let us look at some of the more important issues as they relate to Canada and the USA. Without labouring through a multitude of them, the following is most likely on the top of the list…NAFTA/trade.

President Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to re-open the Canada-U.S. trade agreement and the continent-wide NAFTA deal. For example, he has often said Mexico has gained unfairly from NAFTA. On the other hand, with respect to Canada, the integration and balance of payments in Canada-U.S. trade put the present government on a better footing if the deal is reopened. Canada has a healthy balance in what is still one of the largest trading relationships between the two countries.

As Derek Burney, former  ambassador to the U.S. from 1989 to 1993 under former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, has said, “We’re not running a big [trade] deficit with the United States. The countries that are, they’re the ones that are the target for some of the things that Mr. Trump has been saying. We are not the target and we should not make ourselves the target.” He goes on to say that he doesn’t give much credence to the theory Trump will tear up NAFTA, and that the Canadian government should focus on common priorities in any trade negotiations.

As noted in the Financial Post, “as Trump prepares to use those very things to make the U.S. more alluring — with plans to slash tax rates for businesses and high earners, eviscerate burdensome regulations, and unleash an oil and gas bonanza unshackled from obligations to the globalist climate crusade — the response of the Canadian government has been to assure the world that what we lack in attractiveness, we make up for in personality.” One would trust that the government is not solely relying on our personality or “good looks” to secure our trade deals!

Trudeau’s top aides, principal secretary Gerald Butts and chief of staff Katie Telford, have met with top Trump officials, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. In doing so, the Canadian government is trying to be proactive and work together with the Trump administration on shared goals — such as infrastructure, trade and growing the middle class.

If I may digress somewhat, Canada has nothing to fear with respect to President Trump and his administration. Canada’s historic “fear” was the possible break-up of the country when the so-called “separatist movement” in the Province of Quebec commenced in the nineteen sixties. It flourished throughout the seventies, eighties, with a final referendum to seek legal separation from Canada in the nineties. The referendum was a loss to the separatists and, consequently, the movement finally retired with some lingering attempts to resurrect.

I’m surprised that English Canada did not apologize to the Quebec “separatists” for having caused the loss of their referendum, for we are nice people, polite and apologetic. On the other hand, the separatist movement in the good ol’ USA would have been seen as “treason.” Now, isn’t that an example of the difference between Canada and the USA!

When all is said and done, President Trump will treat Canada like any other “negotiated deal” and move along to the next country to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” on the latest deal/contract! He may have time for a traditional coffee and donut while doing business here, however, I suspect having a Quebec delicacy called “Poutine” will be for another day. Did you say “Putin?” No Mr. President, “Poutine.” “Sorry, I must be tired, I feel like I’m but a yawn away…”