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06/07/2018 10:57 EDT | Updated 06/07/2018 21:02 EDT

Trump’s Tariff Tantrum Killed Any Chance Of A Warm Welcome At G7

If he has the guts to show up, he'll find a country as angry at his actions as president as we are disgusted by his behaviour.

Trump's Tariff Tantrum Killed Any Chance Of A Warm Welcome At G7Donald Trump is due to arrive in Canada this weekend for his first official visit as President of the United States, to take part in the G7 meeting of global political leaders organized for outside of Quebec City.

If he has the guts to show up, he'll find a country as angry at his actions as president as we are disgusted by his behaviour.

MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One.

This is a man who has boasted of assaulting women, who called for his rival to be locked up during the last election, tells bold-faced lies with record regularity, and even thinks he has the kingly power to pardon himself if the FBI investigations find any wrongdoing.

Personally, I'd be happy if he never set foot in this country.

His visit comes one week after U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum on the flimsy excuse of "national security concerns."

It's a ludicrous claim, of course. Canada has been an ally of the United States through war and peace. We fought battles side by side. We've come to each other's aid during times of natural disaster. Our economies are deeply interwoven.

A move trumpeted to help American workers, then, could ultimately end up hurting them.

This historic relationship is why the U.S. initially exempted Canada from the tariffs while renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement take place. As it turns out, that was little more than a slight delay.

Keanin Loomis, president of Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, has told the CBC the tariffs could cost 10,000 jobs directly, and another 30,000 across the wider economy. U.S. manufacturers are put at risk by Trump's move, as well, as the price of steel and aluminum goes up.

A move trumpeted to help American workers, then, could ultimately end up hurting them.

The impact of these tariffs, of course, could be even more far-reaching. Ultimately, Trump's bad policy might kill NAFTA renegotiations altogether. The tragedy is not that we might lose a deeply flawed trade deal, but that it might take the steam out of helpful proposals designed to improve labour laws, especially in Mexico.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump walks down the White House colonnade to the Oval Office with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Time was already running short to fix NAFTA, with a presidential election looming in Mexico and the United States is heading into mid-term elections

Make no mistake, NAFTA needs a lot of fixing. Mexican workers have not seen the brighter future they were promised under NAFTA. Good manufacturing jobs have been moving out of Canada since the deal was signed. The needs of women and Indigenous peoples and how trade deals hurt them and our environment must also be addressed.

These issues are now barely mentioned as talks stall and Trump throws grenades into the talks from the White House.

Like a petulant child, Trump is lashing out in all directions because the U.S. isn't getting what it wants.

Rather than deal with all that, however, we find ourselves in a full-on trade war. Canada is rightfully striking back in the face of the U.S. systematically coming after Canada's aerospace, softwood, paper and now steel and aluminum industries, releasing a long list of tariffs to match Trump's move.

Trump has even mused about imposing tariffs on imported cars, again claiming that minivans and SUVs destined for family driveways can somehow pose a natural security threat.

Ridiculous.

Like a petulant child, Trump is lashing out in all directions because the U.S. isn't getting what it wants in the NAFTA renegotiations.

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In the process, he is putting the livelihoods of workers on both sides of the border at risk, including thousands of Unifor members. Unifor represents more than 40,000 workers in the auto industry and an additional 13,000 workers in metals and mining, including about 4,000 in the steel and aluminum workplaces hit by these tariffs.

Canada has taken a strong stand in the face of Trump's tariffs, and needs to continue pushing back — including at the G7 this weekend.

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