Millroy: An Alternative Plan

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There is something missing in the Ontario government’s call for the federal government to change tactics in the tariff battle it is involved in with U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.

An alternative plan.

It is fine to criticize but I believe when doing so in such matters it should be constructive, an idea or two put forward to augment the criticism.

Ontario Economic Development Minister Todd Smith was quoted in The Sault Star as saying the federal government has failed to secure a strong deal to replace NAFTA and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to remove the tariffs Canada has put in place as a retaliatory measure against the U.S.

Sault MPP Ross Romano followed up, saying the Ontario government stands firm in its belief that the federal government needs to change its game plan to convince the U.S. to drop tariffs on Canadian-made steel and aluminum but stopping short of suggesting Canada remove its retaliatory tariffs.

“We never said we should get out of the retaliatory tariffs but we do believe they should be reviewed,” he was quoted by reporter Elaine Della-Mattia.

I don’t know who to believe, Smith or Romano, and I really don’t care.

Both the thought of removing the tariffs or reviewing them are enough to make my stomach turn.

To do so would be giving in to a bully, Trump being probably the biggest in the world.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, in dismissing calls from the provincial government to drop the steel tariffs, told the CBC:

“I think that is a rotten negotiating strategy. Unilateral surrender tends not to produce great results.”

The U.S. announced tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on imported aluminum last May. Canada retaliated in July but faced criticism at home for signing a new North American trade pact without securing any guarantees the U.S. would lift the levies.

Freeland acknowledged that the retaliatory tariffs were “lose-lose”, but insisted they were “the right thing to do.”

“When the U.S. imposed these illegal and unjustified tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, it was important for Canada to respond, and we did,” she said.

Smith said the tariffs are hurting industries and workers in both countries. He suggested that if Canada dropped its tariffs, the U.S. may follow suit.

The key words there are “may follow suit”.

But the operative words are “won’t follow suit”.

You have to take into account the person with whom you are dealing, the irrational Donald Trump.

He understands strength, whether he is the one using it or when it is being used against him.

Canada as a country cannot capitulate in this matter. It would just let Trump know that he can get away with more.

And then there is the matter of national pride.

It seems this province’s Progressive Conservative government would have us not only roll over and play dead, but in effect be dead.

I am very pleased that the feds say that is not going to happen.

Freeland is right in saying this is a “lose-lose situation”. As Smith says, industries and workers in both countries are being hurt.

Actually, workers and consumers in the U.S. probably hold the key to ending the trade battles Trump has brought on the world.

If discontent among their numbers begins becoming wide spread, it might, even as dense as he is, get Trump’s attention.

 

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Doug Millroy
After 61 years in the news business, 41 of them associated with The Sault Star as editor, Doug continues to share his passion for writing as a columnist since retirement.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Sid : Anyone with any common sense knows that Trump is a Big Buffoon—If you haven’t figured that one out yet then you never will ! I really feel sorry for the American people to be bullied by Trump. I can only hope that they will wake up and realize they made a big mistake putting Trump in as President and correct it by 2020 if Trump runs again,

  2. Here is Trump’s solution to trade with other countries—-Give me want I want or I will put a Tariff on your products that you trade with us. In most instances a counter-tariff is the only thing that another trading nation can do—Stopping the counter-tariff will only make Trump laugh at a weak nation.

  3. I also may not agree with the Ontario Conservative position, but 1 thing is clear, these steel tariffs are seriously hurting Algoma Steel, and that does concern me. Let’s not forget why we have steel tariffs in the 1st place. trudeau’s liberals screwed up this trade file from the very beginning. First, the libs could have dealt with the steel & alum. tariffs, negotiating it into the new trade deal,……… but they didn’t have the political testicles. But, here’s the real issue; the libs could have avoided this whole steel tariff fiasco in the 1st place, if the libs didn’t drag their heels and dealt with putting steel tariffs on Chinese steel entering Canada about 3 years ago. The libs did nothing !!! The U.S. would have accepted that and we could have been scot-free. This is where the disaster that we have today is the real ELEPHANT in the room. I seriously think we are in this serious matter because we have an ADULT BULLY trying to deal with a spoiled, arrogant unprepared child on this end. Those of you who don’t see that difference, have got to stop drinking the lib cool-aid. Hope everyone has a nice week end.

    • Funny Frank, you never had any coherent answers when you were on council and now you feel you have the definitive answer to all the problems in the world?? Trump started all this crap and to give in to him now would be a terrible mistake, no matter which party did it…….

  4. Hi Doug:

    You wrote: “Both the thought of removing the tariffs or reviewing them are enough to make my stomach turn”.
    Makes two of us. The tariffs should stay put. As far any ‘review’ of them is concerned, unless Ford, Smith, Romano et al. can cite a specific example or two about why a review is necessary, they should be left alone.
    I am not a huge fan of this federal government, but I think in this instance, they are doing the right thing. These criticisms from conservative officials smack of a need to complain about government tariff decisions, not because they have a better solution, but because it’s the *Liberals* making the decisions. ??

    Right you are, in that we are dealing with a bully in high office next door, one who has dealt unexpectedly and independently of any of his team’s advice – withdrawal of troops from Syria, for example. I don’t have a fist full of solutions or a crystal ball either, but putting our economic trust in a president who makes rash decisions, business and otherwise, seems a tad reckless. Leave the tariffs alone.

    I am not prepared to throw Freeland under the bus for her efforts in renegotiating the trade agreement. I don’t believe she is a stupid person; she acted in good faith, doing the best she could. She had the Trump government to deal with, and she also had to deal with Mexico, who at one point, seemed all too willing to throw Canada under economic bus. This agreement still requires ratification by congress to be considered a done deal. And given that the president no longer owns that house, congress may have a couple of ideas of its own.

  5. With any luck this arrogant psycho will be found guilty of many of the crimes that he has committed and impeached so things can get back to normal.

    • I assume you are referring to Trudeau. If not and you are referring to Trump, then you should debutt your head from your nether parts and start doing some intelligent research about what is really happening. Not sure what your news sources are but blaming Trump is a misinformed expression of your lack of intelligence, sir.

  6. Trudeau and Freeland made a big mistake when they did not DEMAND that the tariffs be lifted before SIGNING THE DEAL. There is no dealing with a bully like TRUMP. He has dug his heels in and will never give up those tariffs. The Liberal government will have to pay the price at the polls for this huge blunder….along with many others mistakes.

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