Robert Fife and Adrian Morrow write for The Globe and Mail about the apparent willingness of a majority of Canadians to risk a trade war if need be with the United States of Donald Trump.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares for his first encounter with Donald Trump at the White House, a new poll conducted for The Globe and Mail shows Canadians expect him to stand up to the President’s aggressive America-first strategy even if it leads to a trade war with Canada’s biggest trading partner.
Presidential Counsellor Kellyanne Conway told CNN Tuesday that Mr. Trudeau would be travelling to Washington next week to hold wide-ranging talks with Mr. Trump.
Trade talks were the focus of a meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had Tuesday in Washington with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and other members of Congress. The discussions included dairy-market access, suggesting that Canada’s protectionist “supply management” system could be on the table in the North American free-trade agreement renegotiations. Ms. Freeland meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump’s pledge to renegotiate NAFTA is not sitting well with most Canadians. A Nanos poll, conducted between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1, found that 58 per cent of Canadians surveyed would support a trade war with the U.S. if the Trump administration slapped new tariffs on Canadian exports.
“It’s kind of a recognition that there is going to be unavoidable conflict with the Trump administration on trade,” Nik Nanos said in an interview. “When Canadians see the type of leadership style from Donald Trump, they realize that the only way to respond to him is assertively and confidently, even if it means a trade war. Even though we are a small trading partner, many Canadians believe the [trade] war is coming.”