“You’re not going to win with the master of distraction.”
– Derek Burney, former Ambassador to the U.S.
Between Canada and the United States, it’s debatable whose leader is the worst. In Canada, our Prime Minister has demonstrated his lack of management skills and total incompetency to lead the nation. South of the border, we have an ignorant, greedy, unpredictable bully who does not appear to have any consideration for anyone but himself. President Trump’s mantra of America First totally disregards any respect for his neighbours or any of his allies or trading partners. He is unprepared to grant any concessions in his dealings but wants everything his way. That is no way to coexist in a global society.
The renegotiation of NAFTA appears to only have been a campaign promise necessitating two years of extensive negotiations and veiled threats – to what avail? Mexico has ratified the agreement, but it may end up dying in Congress and end up in the dirt pile, which would not be any great loss unless Trump decides to withdraw from the original NAFTA agreement.
And then there is the trade war with China, with tariffs and counter-tariffs which in the end probably hurt Americans as well as Canadians. When Trump decided to up the ante with China and go into a full-fledged trade war with them, he must have been thinking that if he gets into a trade war with China, all the wheat the U.S. sells, all the energy and lumber they sell – where are the Chinese going to go? They are going to Canada and the U.S. will lose all that trade. So, what does he do? He has his foreign affairs people contact our Foreign Affairs department and let them know Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is going to land in Vancouver on her way to Mexico – arrest her on extradition charges. So, without weighing the potential consequences, Canada does as we are told and arrests her and all hell breaks loose. Two of our citizens are arrested in China and another one being held on drug trafficking charges is sentenced to death. And further, China bans imports of canola and pork, two of Canada’s largest trade exports to China.
Where and when is this all going to end? Meng Wanzhou is being detained in Vancouver in excess of a year awaiting trial. Fortunately for her, she has a home in Vancouver and was not subjected to prison awaiting a verdict, but such a lengthy detention is totally unreasonable. But Canada is subject to a continuation of trade penalties, not to speak of the detention of Canadian citizens who don’t have the luxury of private residences in China but rather remain in prison without legal representation and in substandard conditions.
It has been clear from the get-go that Trudeau was never a close ally of the U.S. President. He was greeted cordially but sat with his hands on his lap as Trump lectured him on how he was going to make America First, bar none. But where does that leave Canada in Trump's race to the top? He continues to kick dirt in Trudeau’s face making Canada last in the global economic race.
With friends like Donald Trump, who needs enemies?
Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.