The Trump work-around

Canada is getting a fair amount of favorable press in the US these days over the way our government has tiptoed around the Trump phenomenon. Justin Trudeau has carefully avoided saying anything negative about Trump while simultaneously opening communications channels to key US lawmakers. He was front and centre last week at a convention of US state governors at the National Governors Association retreat in Providence, R.I. According to the New York Times, “there, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada spoke on Friday, the first foreign leader to address the group. Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a Democrat who is chairman of the governors association, said representatives were present from a number of other countries, including China, Japan, Mexico and Vietnam”. Trudeau urged the governors to avoid protectionist policies that would damage NAFTA and other trade agreements that have made North America an almost seamless market. The governors themselves, many representing states with economies closely integrated with Canada are increasingly taking matters into their own hands on trade. Similarly a number of state governors have sought to reassure supporters of the Paris climate accord that they will adhere to its goals at the state level. For her part Premier Kathleen Wynne has also been meeting with dozens of US governors with a similar trade message as Trudeau. Even locally, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina who heads the parliamentary steel caucus has made two trips to Washington to talk North American Steel issues with his US counterparts, and believes that Canada will escape the worst of the Trump government’s threatened “America First” policies.

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