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October 27, 2017 8:13 pm

Will the Trump administration view Canada as its 21st Century colony?

Monday, November 21, 2016 @ 5:45 AM

There are some politicians and pundits in Canada who believe that, despite President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial policy statements on trade, things will eventually settle down into “business as usual” with Canada.  Others advocate a “wait and see” attitude.

However, both positions miss the point.  The election of Trump is ushering in a new period where the US oligarchy is aggressively resetting old trade arrangements and bringing in new ones.  This applies to the U.S. role in the world, but also to its relations with Canada and Mexico.

Far from “waiting to see” what a Trump administration will do, it is extremely important that Canadian politicians, business and labour organizations, and civil society as a whole, develop their own positions now and articulate them so as to not be caught off guard.

Various analysts are claiming that a Trump administration will not be targeting Canada regarding existing trade arrangements, but rather Mexico.  As discussed in yesterday’s column (1), this is quite likely plain wrong and gives a false sense of security.

For example, former US senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was interviewed on CTV’s Question Period yesterday.  Santorum has been a key advisor to Donald Trump and reportedly Trump based much of his election campaign policy on Santorum’s recent book: “Blue collar conservatives: Recommitting to an America that works.”

In the Question Period interview, Santorum also claimed that Trump was only worried about Mexico and not Canada in regards to NAFTA and other trade relations.  And he further argued that Prime Minister Trudeau had given a huge advantage to Trump by “throwing a bone” to the US and agreeing to re-open NAFTA negotiations.

However, when digging down into Santorum’s comments, a much less rosy picture for Canada emerges.  In regards to Trudeau’s proposed carbon tax, Santorum claims that this will make Canada “uncompetitive” and cause jobs to flow out of Canada and down to the US.

He also hints that there will be those in Michigan “who will talk about the relation between Canada and the US” and consider taking action so that manufacturing jobs “don’t go across the river” from the US to Canada.

In his most baldly aggressive statement, Santorum says:  “Trust me, we (the US) are going to be aggressively going after jobs that are high tech and other types of manufacturing jobs and a lot of those are up in Canada.”

How will a Trump administration do this?  Through a number of ways.  One of them will likely be slashing corporate taxes so as to lure companies and investment from other countries.  Another more controversial policy is to take punitive action against US based companies that outsource their operations to other countries.

This latter could be especially dicey for Canada and British Columbia.  For example, there are many corporations that have operations in both Canada and the US, including forestry companies like Canfor, West Fraser and others.  What if one of these forestry companies decides to close a mill in the US and move operations to Canada?  Will it be punished by the Trump administration?  Such measures could have a huge impact on forestry jobs and communities in Canada.

What will be the stand of our federal and provincial governments to such a move by the US?  It is not a minor question to be worked out later.  And there are many other serious questions like this to be considered.

It is clear that the new administration is going to aggressively try to take manufacturing and high tech jobs away from Canada using fair means and foul.  So, the question arises: what do Santorum and Trump really want from Canada?  How do they see Canada’s place in the Trump administration’s New World Order?

Again, Santorum exposed himself in a recent talk he gave to the Canada-American Business Council.  He told the audience to look at the Trump presidency as “an opportunity, not a source of concern.”  But how did he define Canada’s role?  He stated that Trump “is dedicated to revitalizing the US manufacturing sector and that would be beneficial to the Canadian economy as the US will require natural resources from Canada.”

In other words, the Trump administration reduces Canada to a “hewer of wood and drawer of water” for US manufacturing, with the lowly status of a 19th century-style colony and resource warehouse.  Does that, for example, mean that the US, besides trying to ruin Canadian manufacturing, will be exerting increased pressure to export more raw logs and water south “to make America great again”?

And there are many other possibly contentious issues.  The Trump administration could have more surprises up its sleeve which need to be prepared for.

These are things we need to talk about now.


Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia.  He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca


  1. Ewart, Peter. “Is Canada in Trump’s crosshairs regarding trade?” 250 News.  November 20, 2016. https://www.250news.com/2016/11/20/could-canada-be-the-main-target-of-trumps-trade-complaints/ 
  2. Santorum, Rick. “QP Podcast #170: Has Canada already lost on NAFTA talks with Trump?”  CTV Question Period.  November 20, 2016.
  3. Carson, Bruce. “The Morning Brief: Rick Santorum, interest rates, prospering in the Trump era.”  NewsHubNation.  November 17, 2016. http://newshubnation.com/VkyDx5LWG/The-Morning-Brief-Rick-Santorun-Interest-Rates-Prospering-in-the-Trump-Era




“What if one of these forestry companies decides to close a mill in the US and move operations to Canada? Will it be punished by the Trump administration? Such measures could have a huge impact on forestry jobs and communities in Canada.”
You’ve got to be kidding. The Canadian companies that have bought out mills in the US south-east have done so because that’s where the available TIMBER is. You can re-grow a crop there in less than half the time it’s going to take to regenerate even miniscule sized saw log trees up here.

Those companies have long term timber supply agreements with a multiplicity of private timberland owners. People and companies who are interested in actually tree farming for a profit. NOT in allocating timber with the spurious notion that doing so should produce so many ‘jobs’ like we do.

As long as this country is going to focus on the ‘job’ as the sole source of income distribution we are going to be putting ourselves in a position where we HAVE TO sell all our best resources into export markets that often neither need nor want them in the quantities we’re trying to force on them. While what’s left for us to consume here, in our own country, will be the crap. And we’ll be grossly overcharged even for that. In the end, we’ll have neither the timber nor the over cherished ‘job’. If you want that changed look at the way the current financial system operates. It does NOT accurately REFLECT physical realities, and until we make it more able to do that all we can ever hope to be is a nation of perpetual bitchers who think mere ‘figures’ are more important than actual ‘facts’.

    You can re grow a crop there in less than half the time. Sure, probably but who wants a board that you can push a screw into with your hand ? not me. I will take the tight and small growth ringed trees over those any day . This is what makes are northern wood far superior.

      Who wants a house sheathed with OSB, or even spruce plywood if you could use Douglas fir plywood or shiplap ?

      Who wanted a house framed out of lodgepole pine, whose Latin botanical name “pinus CONTORTA” wasn’t given it for no good reason, if that same house could be framed out of Douglas fir?

      Builders use what is cheapest, their margins are tight, and ultimately constrained by how many people can afford to buy a house using those better products. And that’s fewer and fewer all the time. That’s the present ‘financial’ reality. And it’s only going to get worse

Meanwhile, while Trump announces he’s going to ramp up coal for electricity, the Federal Liberals announce they are going to eliminate coal fired electricity by 2030. Maybe this is why Site C got federal approval from the otherwise eco friendly Liberals because people want their electricity and it’s needed to replace Alberta’s. And are we planning on shipping the excess coal to the US at a fire sale price to keep some miners working.

And what’s wrong with whole log exports. There’s about 3 jobs in the bush for every job in the mill. Better 3 keep on working than 4 sit at home doing nothing.

And we can take whatever positions we want, as long as the guy down South has a million man army, and advanced technical weaponry, we will always be compelled to accept what we’re given because end of the day, they can take it.

Maybe what we should be talking about, is instead of being treated like a colony with no say, we actually join the US and get a vote in the matter, and we can get rid of the Canadian Border Agency and the US Border patrol.

    Why would we want to join a country in trouble???? We would have less say than California. Look how much they had to say on a Trump election.

    The US has major problems, including the security of their country by political takeover of one elite by another elite. Trumps rhetoric is full of BS that the “common” worker actually believe.

    It is that same class that supports dictatorships in other countries.

      I would suggest that the democratic party has a larger number of **common workers** than the republicans.

      There is not a huge difference in education between democratic and republican voters. Up until recently the republicans were leading with members having a least a college degree. This has since changed and the democrats now have a 12% lead.

      People who are neither democrat or republican ie; independents actually make up the bulk of American voters, these people could go either way in any given election.

      “The US has major problems, including the security of their country by political takeover of one elite by another elite. Trumps rhetoric is full of BS that the “common” worker actually believe.” The most effective campaign strategy that Trump & Co. used was to convince the “little guy” that Trump was one of them & would go to bat for them. Yet we see who he has chosen to surround himself with, count the number of Harvard & other Ivy League educated people in his inner circle, count the multi millionaires/billionaires he goes to for advice. Trump continually railed against the “establishment”, the same system that he was an active participant & despite his rhetoric of “draining the swamp”, in a lot of aspects as far as how Washington operates, it looks like business as usual. The one disturbing thing that was only lightly touched on during the campaign is the massive conflict of interests that this Presidency faces. Trump has far flung business interests in some very political sensitive areas of the world,that for some arcane reason nobody really thought to check on, that could put the US & the Trump family/organization in some precarious diplomatic positions. As far as Canada is concerned? The Trump Organization has about a dozen interests here. Will he risk harming his own businesses over the country’s interests? Past history predicts future history & if there is one thing we know about Trump is that he looks after his or his company’s/family’s interests first. As Canadians, there is a line from a book I read years ago, “He who waits for the sword to fall will surely lose his head”.

    Won’t work, Ski51. Not long term. Whether we’d like to be a part of the USA, or are repelled completely by the prospect. The EU is living, (or now possibly, dying), proof of that. You can’t solve the REAL problem by expanding its boundaries.

    The USA, prior to World War Two, was virtually ‘self sufficient’ internally. The few things it needed to import from outside its borders, or those of territories elsewhere it controlled, were almost always things there would have been little demand for elsewhere in the world relative to what the US was buying of them.

    Yet even with all that, it couldn’t make its economy work ‘financially’. Took the war, and massive destruction in many parts of the world to ever be able to seem like it could. And that didn’t last too long. Same with the British Empire a little earlier. What did it need from outside that Empire? Nothing. Except, just like the Americans in the 1930’s, and before, and after, and all countries now ~ ‘money’.

“One of them will likely be slashing corporate taxes so as to lure companies and investment from other countries.”

The US Federal Corporate tax rate is in the order of 35% depending on details. The Canadian Federal Corporate tax rate is as high as 26% again depending on the details.

The US personal income tax rate is lower than Canada’s.

The US has had the highest corporate tax rate in the world. I believe Japan has that honour now.

The Autopac certainly is vulnerable.

Here is a table that is supposed to show basic federal corporate tax rates for 2015. I do not know how accurate it is and how much it varies based on the details of the corporation, but it provides an approximate indicator.

It also does not show how many corporations have their head offices in countries with low tax rates.

United States 35 %

France 34.43 %

Belgium 33 %

Australia 30 %

Mexico 30.0 %

New Zealand 28 %

Portugal 28 %

Spain 28 %

Italy 27.5 %

Norway 27 %

Israel 26.5 %

Greece 26 %

Austria 25 %

Iran 25 %

Netherlands 25 %

Denmark 23.5 %

Chile 22.5 %

Luxembourg 22.47 %

South Korea 22 %

Slovak Republic 22 %

Sweden 22 %

Estonia 20 %

Finland 20 %

Iceland 20 %

Turkey 20 %

United Kingdom 20 %

Czech Republic 19 %

Hungary 19 %

Poland 19 %

Slovenia 17 %

Germany 15.83 %

Canada 15 %

Ireland 12.5 %

Switzerland 8.5 %

    Thats the federal rate. There’s another 10 percent or more depending on the province. Most large corps it’s about 26 percent. Small corps 13 percent.

gopg2015, take a deep breath, slowly let it out, take another one and do the same. Feel better now. Watch your blood pressure, quit listening to CBC.

    You do the same and we can compare.

    Speaking one’s mind reduces stress. It also keeps others aware that they are not the only ones in the community.

    So what is the purpose of the repeated condescending advice? Accomplishes nothing.

No kidding… everyone should quit listening to the CBC and quit paying billions of tax payers dollars to them to as well. One lie after the other and it is all swallowed up as gospel.

    I listen to Cristiano. I quit listening to CBC a long time ago because their programming does not fit my schedule anymore.

    Yeah, they’ve switched all their donations to the Trump Foundation scam. They figure they better get in on the ground floor for the nation destroying Republican financial scam that is on its way in the near future.

      Don’t know how that ended up as reply to you. It was meant for Seamutt and his Clinton foundation comment.

I’m rather surprised that Peter Ewart would state:

“So, the question arises: what do Santorum and Trump really want from Canada?  How do they see Canada’s place in the Trump administration’s New World Order?”

Trump administration’s New World Order?

I thought that the “New World Order” was being orchestrated by George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and others not including Trump?

    The world oder is determined by the elite in charge no matter whether left rift or centre.

    As the economist magazine headlined in percent issue liberty has moved north.

      Recent issue!!!!

      How far north? Trump’s latest is that for every new government regulation enacted two existing ones have to be repealed. Meanwhile, north of the 49th……….. But maybe not far enough north.

I think the one most important thing business needs to base their investment decisions on is having a “stable” environment in which to invest. Trump provides none of this, his entire election campaign was unscripted, despite the Republican Party’s best efforts to make him stick to election platform; policy, strategy, talking points.

There is no real indication that he will make a departure from his “unpredictable” seat of his pants impulsive decision making, and this will drive the Republican Party establishment up the wall, and they will view Donald Trump (if they have not done so already) as a loose cannon. While the world stock markets took an early dive the night of the election, they did recover the next day, this will not be the case when Donald Trump lurches continually from a planned course of action meant to “stabilize” investor confidence and long term business investment decisions in the United States.

I am leaning towards Michael Moore’s prediction that Donald Trump will be too much of a loose cannon, and the Republican Party, both through their majority controlled Senate and Congress, will keep a tight rein on him, if they cannot control him, they will get rid of him, and he won’t last his full four (4) year term. One can only hope for this kind of best scenario outcome.

ht tp://www.thewrap.com/michael-moore-prediction-donald-trump/

Michael Moore, you got to be kidding. Dow made records.

Maybe you donate money to Clinton foundation, read donations have fallen right off that scam.

Being Human:-“I think the one most important thing business needs to base their investment decisions on is having a “stable” environment in which to invest.”

Very “stable” environment in China. Just step out of line there and see what happens. They have a way of making de-stabilising problems just ‘disappear’.

Well speaking of education and elitists looks like the deplorables won the day.

    We know that you think KKK members and white supremacist neo-nazis are the cream of America. You don’t have to tell us.

    The deplorables won the day? By the end of the month Clinton will be more than 2 million ahead in the popular vote. As for elitists? Tell me, how & where did Trump get his fortune? A lot has been said in this election about elitists & those who either are or come from priveledge. Hillary Clinton came from humble beginnings, worked hard & clawed her way to where she got to & regardless of what you think of her as a person, you have to grudgingly admit that hers was the much harder path. Who is the real elite here? Trump came from a life of priveledge, never knew want or wanted for anything other than more wealth in his life. If what is happening already in his pre-presidency is an indication, he will go down in history as “the crybaby President”.

      Haha, really. I mean, can you believe that he thought the actors from that Hamilton play were harassing Pence? it was clear that the fellow on stage was just making a reasonable plea that the upcoming administration govern in the best interests of all Americans and Trump considered that “harassment”. What an idiot.

      The real powers in America are going to have a field day manipulating that fool from one crisis to another, all the while getting richer off the economic destruction of their “homeland”.

      Small hands and thin orange skin….

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