Throughout the Covid-19 fiasco, I’ve kept quiet. Every day I’ve watched Prime Minister Trudeau give his 11:15 press conference, modeling effective behaviours of social distancing, self-isolating, and not being tested for the virus because he remains asymptomatic. I’ve thought to myself how his drama background prepared him for this daily exhibition of compassion and sincerity. I have also watched the follow-up conference of a variety of Canada’s national Ministers eloquently offer transparent information and skillfully respond to questions. Regardless of one’s politics, this team has done a good job.
On the other hand, I have also watched the nightmare unfold south of the border. Thank goodness most States seem to have strong leadership in their Governors. They have a tough road ahead and they are seemingly approaching their task with a sense of urgency. Their national leadership, unfortunately, does not serve Americans well. It seems Trump has little sense of ‘team’ and doesn’t heed the advice of experts. Little Donnie Trump couldn’t have done very well in kindergarten. He never learned how to share.
This week Mr. Trump (he’s no President) has tried to invoke the Arms Export Control Act on 3M to prevent them from shipping N-95 masks to Canada. Ontario Premier Doug Ford glared into the camera as he expressed his disappointment in Trump, while our ever-polite Prime Minister Trudeau says, “It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back and forth trade of essential goods and services, including medical goods across our border.” Don’t let their stoic demeanor fool you. They are infuriated. Canadians are enraged.
Nor does Donnie Trump have a very good memory. He’s seemingly forgotten how the Canadian Embassy sheltered and saved the lives of Americans during the 1980 Iran Hostage Crisis.
Trump has forgotten when Gander, Newfoundland allowed 37 diverted flights during 9/11 and housed some 6700 people. He’s also forgotten the many times Canadian firefighters have helped the United States fight wildfires.
Maybe Trump isn’t aware that thousands of Canadian nurses and healthcare workers cross into the United States daily and are continuing to do so during the Covid-19 crisis. Even though many of them are returning home sick, the remainder continue to risk their lives to save Americans. They don’t see them as Americans. They see them as people who are in need, and we Canadians help others in need.
Even though some Canadians were disgruntled when we sent China masks several weeks ago, they have reciprocated by sending us masks and other medical equipment this week. See? The Chinese know how to play nice.
3M has a large presence in Canada with its London, Ontario headquarters employing 1800 staff. Here in Canada they make abrasives, adhesives, automotive parts and even personal protective equipment…just not N-95 masks. As someone who worked with large international companies during my career, I can tell you than most folks don’t really see it as ‘Canadian’ or ‘American’ when they are employed by these companies. Therefore, I’m not surprised and very pleased at 3M’s initial response to Trump indicating there were humanitarian implications and possibly even…retaliation.
So, let’s say the gloves come off. We’ve been nice ‘til now. It would start with trade stoppage. Many countries don’t realize that Canada could be self-sufficient. We’d have some adjustments to make, but Canada would fare just fine. Most of what we import is because we don’t want to pay the transit costs to take our products across our vast country – it’s cheaper to import them from the U.S. I’m always amazed that we import lettuce from California when Quebec and Ontario grow perfectly good lettuce.
I wonder, though, how many Americans (particularly Donnie Trump) realize how much they rely on our products including fuel, hydro, etc. What about natural resources? What about water? Canada has the third largest renewable water supply in the world. We’d have a definite battle over the Great Lakes, but what about the Milk River that flows into the Missouri River, and the Columbia River that flows from British Columbia into Washington State, and others? We’ve got the resources that Americans need! Those 3M N-95 masks were even made with pulp from Canada! Canada and the United States have shared forever. We are brothers and sisters in disasters.
Mr. Trump, you don’t want to start this fight. Someone, please, talk some sense into him!