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.