Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman speaks at a breakfast function in Ottawa on Feb. 26, 2015. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)"Words matter. Words matter diplomatically. Words matter with leaders. And I think the words that have been used have been unfortunate, and have not been constructive,'' Bruce Heyman told a panel in Detroit, organized Tuesday by the Council of the Great Lakes Region. ''I think if we're going to try to get things done ... I think we would probably be better off using a different tone and style." Heyman worked on some of these same issues Trump is complaining about — softwood lumber and dairy. But unlike Trump, the former Obama administration raised its complaints discreetly, in private primarily, just alluding to them in public, and seeking to keep the dialogue positive. By way of comparison, on Tuesday alone, Trump raised his complaints about Canada, twice, without being asked, in public remarks and in a tweet where he threatened reprisals over ultra-filtered milk regulations. ''We will not stand for this,'' Trump wrote. ''Watch!''
Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump walks along the West Wing Colonnade at the White House in Washington on April 21, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via CP)That was the same advice offered by several actors Tuesday. These ex-ambassadors, the Canada-U.S. Business Council lobby group and Obama's former White House public-diplomacy director Brett Bruen all said the Canadian government should meet the complaints with calm. Instead, said Bruen, the government should build political alliances. He urged it to speak with Americans who agree with Canada's position. For example, he suggested reaching out through the Home and Garden network to homebuyers hurt by more expensive wood. He said that would give Canada power in a negotiation later. The Canadian government has been working on building such alliances. It's no accident some in government have taken to renaming ''softwood lumber,'' as, ''home lumber.'' Also, federal ministers are now fanning out across the U.S.
"It's goofy stuff, unbecoming of our relationship, and frankly unbecoming of the leader of our country."
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