Opinion / The Wedge


By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, the wedge.LIVE

The Trump-Trudeau-Trade-Tit-For-Tat war ensues with July 1st as the kick-off date to our tariffs imposed on U.S. imports into Canada on everything from steel and aluminium through the oddest categories, gherkin pickles and ball point pens.

President Trump’s 25% tariff on Canadian steel and 10% on our aluminium kicks in at midnight, Thursday. We export 50% of these metals to our Southern neighbors. This is going to sting our industries–our economy.

It’s worse than that.

Canadian officials are hoping Trump will back-off; but, I would not hold my breath. I guarantee you, he is not done with tariffs. First, he aimed at oil independence falling back on massive oil shale finds in North Dakota. Now, he aims squarely at its ten smelters incentivized to upgrade and increase production within its borders. What’s next? Wood? Wheat? Potash? Cars?

U.S. economic policy presents an existential threat to our nation.

There were many, many warnings throughout his campaign and early in his presidency.

Trump is a nationalist, a mega-protectionist. His MAGA campaign speaks volumes about U.S. self-sufficiency. He does not give a rodent’s derriere about the collateral damage beyond U.S.

Our PM can rhapsodize about our relationships, our ties, with all the drama the press relishes. Even if we put a big tariff on everything–I mean everything–it will likely not have any effect.

This is not political. It’s Trump business, putting America first. You can’t throw diplomacy at this.

The European Union and Mexico are also subject to this tariff; so, this is not a hit on Canada exclusively. Argentina, Brazil, Australia and South Korea are exempt–on this wave. We need to examine this fact–what drives these exemptions.

Canada needs to set its sights on other trading partners–fast. Build from within. And do any wheeling-and-dealing while we reset our dynamics.

I listened to many pundits, reporters and even our PM. It is hard to find the cold, hard truth. Here is a real, simple analysis of our present-day problems with U.S. :

These chess moves are gonna sting both sides of the border. For U.S. it will be a finger-prick in comparison. Prices will go up. Supply will dry up. Jobs will be lost. I can’t list the corollary outcomes as U.S. incrementally seeks economic independence. Unless we go to Plan B. Do we have one? Because whining on camera is not a plan.

U.S. is no longer our big, caring sibling next door. The sooner we face that, the stronger we will be.

The list of tariffs at 10% on US imports is long:

  • Yogourt
  • Coffee, roasted: Not decaffeinated
  • Prepared meals: Of spent fowl; Specially defined mixtures
    Other: Specially defined mixtures, other than in cans or glass jars; Spent fowl other than in cans or glass jars
  • Prepared meals, of bovine – Other prepared or preserved meat of bovine, other than in cans or glass jars
  • Maple sugar and maple syrup
  • Liquorice candy; Toffee
  • Other sugar confectionery (including white chocolate), not containing cocoa.
  • Other chocolate, in blocks, slabs or bars: Filled
  • Other chocolate, in blocks, slabs or bars: Not filled
  • Pizza and quiche
  • Cucumbers and gherkins
  • Strawberry jam
  • Nut purées and nut pastes, berry purées, other fruit purées other than banana purée, other jams, jellies
  • Orange juice: Not frozen, of a Brix value not exceeding 20
  • Soya sauce
  • Tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces
  • Prepared mustard
  • Mayonnaise, salad dressing, mixed condiments and mixed seasonings, other sauces
  • Soups and broths and preparations therefor
  • Waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured
  • Whiskies
  • Manicure or pedicure preparations
  • Hair lacquers
  • Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations
  • Preparations for perfuming or deodorizing rooms, including odoriferous preparations used during religious rites
  • Organic surface-active products and preparations for washing the skin, in the form of liquid or cream and put up for retail sale, whether or not containing soap
  • Automatic dishwasher detergents
  • Other candles and tapers and the like not including those for birthdays, Christmas or other festive occasions
  • Products suitable for use as glues or adhesives, put up for retail sale as glues or adhesives, not exceeding a net weight of 1 kg
  • Insecticides: In packages of a gross weight not exceeding 1.36 kg each
  • Fungicides: In packages of a gross weight not exceeding 1.36 kg each
  • Herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators: In packages of a gross weight not exceeding 1.36 kg each
  • Other sacks and bags (including cones) of polymers of ethylene
  • Other sacks and bags (including cones) of other plastics
  • Tableware and kitchenware
  • Household articles and hygienic or toilet articles, of plastics
  • Plywood, consisting solely of sheets of wood (other than bamboo), each ply not exceeding 6 mm thickness: Other, with both outer plies of coniferous wood
  • Other plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood
  • Other paper and paperboard, not containing fibres obtained by a mechanical or chemi-mechanical process or of which not more than 10% by weight of the total fibre content consists of such fibres: Weighing 40 g/m² or more but not more than 150 g/m², in sheets with one side not exceeding 435 mm and the other side not exceeding 297 mm in the unfolded state
  • Other paper and paperboard coated, impregnated or covered with plastics (excluding adhesives)
  • Toilet paper
  • Handkerchiefs, cleansing or facial tissues and towels
  • Tablecloths and serviettes
  • Bobbins, spools caps and similar supports of a kind used for winding textile yarn, of paper pulp, paper or paperboard (whether or not perforated or hardened)
  • Other bobbins, spools caps and similar supports of paper pulp, paper or paperboard (whether or not perforated or hardened)
  • Printed or illustrated postcards; printed cards bearing personal greetings, messages or announcements, whether or not illustrated, with or without envelopes or trimmings.
  • Beer kegs, of iron or steel, of a capacity of 50 litres or more
  • Beer kegs, of iron or steel, of a capacity of less than 50 litres
  • Parts of iron or steel, of stoves, ranges, grates, cookers (including those with subsidiary boilers for central heating), barbeques, braziers, gas-rings, plate warmers and similar non-electric domestic appliances
  • Aluminum bars, rods and profiles
  • Aluminum wire
  • Aluminum plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm
  • Aluminum foil (whether or not printed or backed with paper, paperboard, plastics or similar backing materials) of a thickness (excluding any backing) not exceeding 0.2 mm
  • Aluminum tubes and pipes
  • Aluminum tube or pipe fittings (for example, couplings, elbows, sleeves)
  • Aluminum structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 94.06) and parts of structures (for example, bridges and bridge-sections, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, balustrades, pillars and columns); aluminum plates, rods, profiles, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures
  • Aluminum reservoirs, tanks, vats and similar containers, for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of a capacity exceeding 300 litres, whether or not lined or heat-insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment
  • Aluminum casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers (including rigid or collapsible tubular containers), for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of a capacity not exceeding 300 litres, whether or not lined or heat-insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment
  • Aluminum containers for compressed or liquefied gas
  • Stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like, of aluminum, not electrically insulated
  • Table, kitchen or other household articles and parts thereof, of aluminum; pot scourers and scouring or polishing pads, gloves and the like, of aluminum; sanitary ware and parts thereof, of aluminum
  • Other articles of aluminum
  • Combined refrigerator-freezers, fitted with separate external doors
  • Instantaneous or storage water heaters, non-electric: Other than instantaneous gas water heaters
  • Other dish washing machines, other than of the household type
  • Mowers for lawns, parks or sports-grounds: Powered, with the cutting device rotating in a horizontal plane
  • Household or laundry-type washing machines, each of a dry linen capacity not exceeding 10 kg: Fully-automatic machines
  • Household or laundry-type washing machines, each of a dry linen capacity exceeding 10 kg
  • Boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 85.35 or 85.36, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, including those incorporating instruments or apparatus of Chapter 90, and numerical control apparatus, other than switching apparatus of heading 85.17
  • Inflatable boats
  • Sailboats, with or without auxiliary motor
  • Motorboats, other than outboard motorboats
  • Outboard motorboats, other vessels for pleasure or sports, nes
  • Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus
  • Other seats, with wooden frames: Upholstered
  • Mattresses of cellular rubber or plastics, whether or not covered
  • Mattresses of other materials
  • Sleeping bags
  • Other bedding and similar articles, nes
  • Playing cards
  • Ball point pens
  • Felt tipped and other porous-tipped pens and markers

Then of course there is a 25% tariff on secondary steel manufacturing.

Link to list : https://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/cacsap-cmpcaa-eng.asp

U.S. did not blink. There is no outcry on their networks.

It is interesting that the products we do not make ourselves from steel and aluminium are on our list. Maybe we should start investing in a manufacturing base–again.

If there ever was a case for nationalism this is it. Distance from markets is costly.

Alberta’s economy has been decimated with countless disasters. Those equalization payments now insolvent Ontario relied on are a thing of the past.

“Where to Captain?” Where no Canadian has gone before.


White House video of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump in seemingly agreeable state-of-mind:

That’s all there is so far. Mutual schmoozing for the cameras although Justin’s supine position and ebullience is ironic after his famous reluctant handshake in the White House.

Make no mistake. This is serious. And leaving the business world with this video falls way short of the urgency in this matter. No one is laughing. Everyday we wait our economy oozes untold loss.

It’s not time to talk about Justin’s socks, but a humble quiet blue pair was in order.

Today Trump is on his way to meet Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. I imagine this is occupying his thoughts. Just before his departure he spoke on the tariffs.

To quote him, he prefers, “zero tariffs, zero barriers and subsidies.” So, all nations are on notice.


President Trump must have tweeted from Air Force One and it’s not good:

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 7.22.08 PM

As I wrote above, Trump is now going after other industries. He mentioned dairy at the G7 and now automobiles. The trade war between our two countries has worsened.


  1. I’d like to first start off by saying someone forwarded a link to one of your stories that I really enjoyed so I decided to check out more of your website – lots of very interesting articles, and a very nicely put together website, so a very supportive ‘well done’ to any/all involved.

    That said, when I was going through recent articles, I came across one from June 5 titled “U.S. ISOLATIONISM EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO CANADA”. I found it, as usual in the media, very one-sided in its dislike for President Trump and his policies – in this case, trade with Canada (and internationally).

    What was not mentioned is WHY President Trump has been examining and renegotiating trade agreements with all the US’s major trading partners. For one, it’s the fact that they are losing in the neighbourhood of 800 BILLION dollars a year due to trade deficits with almost every major country they trade with (easily researched and verified). Plus their country has gone from a 10 TRILLION dollar debt to 20 TRILLION dollar national debt in less than a decade. This is all unsustainable for a nation, even one the size of the US, and it took a businessman who was not reliant on big corporations to fund him, to make this point to both US citizens and the rest of the world. President Trump has even refused a salary while in office, and instead donates the entire amount each quarter to a worthy cause.

    He has lowered US unemployment in less than two years to almost record lows. Black unemployment is at record lows, Hispanic unemployment is at record lows, womens unemployment is at it’s lowest in 31 years now (not bad for a supposed racist and misogynist). At this moment, it is estimated there are 6.7 million jobs waiting to be filled in the US, which means almost anybody who really wants a job will soon be able to find one. Trump is bringing manufacturing BACK to the US after seeing it drain to China, Mexico and elsewhere over the course of decades, due mainly to extremely cheap labour and manufacturing costs in those countries… yet everyone over here cries for a substantially higher minimum wages (still not figuring out they’re still driving away even more jobs from the country).

    And lets get back to Canada. The reason President Trump has slapped us with tariffs on steel and aluminum is because Canada has been importing plenty of Chinese raw steel as well as pre-manufactured steel parts (mostly for cars/trucks etc) and then profiting by utilizing NAFTA to ship it across the border duty/tariff free. Trump has no problem with Canadian made steel but does have a problem with the cheap chinese steel coming in through the NAFTA back door and flooding their markets and killing their own steel industry. Instead of Trudeau and his trade team trying to crack down on this issue (at least somewhat) to help resolve the this trade irritation, he got his back up and foolishly decided to retaliate by introducing Canadian tariffs across the board on that long list of goods that you published. As you correctly pointed out, this is not a battle we should be in and it’s not a battle we can ever hope to win. In fact, we stand to lose substantially if Trudeau lets this go on for any length of time. Instead of trying to save NAFTA by reducing chinese steel flowing through Canada, he’s in effect killed NAFTA. It will be gone by early next year and then Trudeau and Canada will be negotiating from an even weaker position for a bi-lateral deal – an utter and complete lack or foresight!

    The other big problem Trump has continually pointed out was the high dairy tariffs that the US faces when trying to export to Canada. These range all the way up to a whopping 300%. These are ridiculously high and it’s because of Canada’s outdated and costly supply management system. But no Canadian politician seems to want to resolve this problem and seem happy to let a little more than 9,000 dairy farmers across Canada – mostly in Que and Ont – hold the rest of us 33 MILLION hostage because of this disastrous (and protectionist!) quota system.

    President Trump is indeed a nationalist and he is now doing what is best for America, as Trudeau should be for Canada – yet he’s too busy virtue-signaling, trying to demand gender and climate issues be included in trade talks. Trump has stated time and again that he’s only looking for FAIR trade, ie, whatever import tariffs a country wants to charge to the US, they can expect the exact same tariff on the same goods to apply when trying to export INTO the US. Sure sounds fair to me, especially when it means access to the worlds largest economy.

    Anyways, I’ve gone on long enough, but wanted to make the points that were not brought up – as the other side of the issue – in your article.

    Keep up the good work with the Wedge.live and I look forward to visiting often.


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