Ver­ba­tim: The Ele­phant and the Moose

On July 14, Justin Trudeau took his case for free trade di­rectly to Amer­i­can gover­nors—the first time in its his­tory of more than a cen­tury that the Na­tional Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion has heard from a Cana­dian prime min­is­ter. Trudeau wasn’t in Prov­i­dence to m

Policy - - In This Issue - Justin Trudeau

It is my sin­cere priv­i­lege to be here with you to­day, to talk about some of the val­ues we have in com­mon, and some of the so­lu­tions to the chal­lenges we all face.

I have to say I am flat­tered, and also a lit­tle bit sur­prised, that so many of you in the au­di­ence have cho­sen to be here now rather off at the beach catch­ing that per­fect wave. Maybe that’s on the agenda for the week­end.

Or maybe you’ll go search­ing for the

truth in a walk around the lake, to para­phrase the great poet Wal­lace Stevens.

Now, I have to tell you, Wal­lace Stevens is prob­a­bly my favourite poet. By day, he worked in in­sur­ance up the road in Hart­ford, Con­necti­cut, and by night he wrote some of the most spec­tac­u­lar po­etry this coun­try—and in­deed, this world—has ever seen.

As I get to know this beau­ti­ful, his­toric cor­ner of Amer­ica a lit­tle bet­ter—the neatly tended fields and low stone walls, the ap­ple or­chards and spec­tac­u­lar ocean vis­tas—I’ve been think­ing about Wal­lace Stevens.

In his poem The­ory, he de­clares, “I am what is around me.” And it makes me think of the con­cept of home— what it means, and how we de­fine it.

Of course, home be­gins with fam­ily. And it ex­tends out from there—to school and places of wor­ship, work­place, com­mu­nity, town, city, state and coun­try.

But there’s an as­pect of home that goes be­yond our na­tional bor­ders—at least be­yond the Canada-U.S. bor­der, which is un­like any other. That is the idea, and the re­al­ity, of our com­mon North Amer­i­can home.

This is the level where New­found­lan­ders took in thousands of stranded Amer­i­can air trav­ellers af­ter 9/11—as chron­i­cled in the award-win­ning Broad­way mu­si­cal, Come From Away. It is the level where, 100 years ago, New Eng­lan­ders rushed to help their Nova Sco­tia cousins, af­ter the Hal­i­fax ex­plo­sion of 1917.

It’s the level at which, when the Ply­mouth-to-New­port sailing race got hit with hur­ri­cane-force winds, just a few weeks ago, Cana­dian Armed Forces per­son­nel, ships and planes went im­me­di­ately into res­cue mode.

That’s what friends and neigh­bours do. We’re there for each other. We step up.

The Canada-U.S. bor­der is some­times re­ferred to as “the long­est un­de­fended bor­der in the world.” That’s ac­tu­ally wrong: Our shared bor­der is very well de­fended. We de­fend it to­gether, against com­mon threats.

From NORAD, the only joint-com­mand re­la­tion­ship in the world, to NATO, to counter-ter­ror­ism and to ba­sic street-level polic­ing, Cana­di­ans and Amer­i­cans work shoul­der-to shoul­der, keep­ing each other safe. As long as any of us here can re­mem­ber, and fur­ther back than that, we have done this.

And that is the con­text in which I’d like to say a few words to­day about Canada’s out­reach to the United States this year—which has been var­i­ously de­scribed by an­a­lysts and pun­dits as un-Cana­dian; ex­cep­tion­ally Cana­dian; un­prece­dented; highly pre­dictable; and, per­haps most colour­fully, a dough­nut.

My friends, I’m here to tell you that our con­tin­u­ing con­ver­sa­tion with all of you is none of those things. Not at all. On the con­trary, it is solid, through-and-through.

It ex­tends to all lev­els of gover­nance and so­ci­ety. From my con­tin­u­ing, con­struc­tive di­a­logues with Pres­i­dent Trump and Vice-Pres­i­dent Pence; to chats be­tween fed­eral min­is­ters and cabi­net sec­re­taries; to meet­ings be­tween state gover­nors and pro­vin­cial pre­miers (in­clud­ing the Pre­mier of On­tario, Kath­leen Wynne, who is here to­day) to con­ver­sa­tions be­tween mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers, to busi­ness and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, to the thousands of per­sonal and busi­ness ties that form the bedrock of our na­tional bond. Dur­ing my time in pol­i­tics, I’ve no­ticed this: Pun­dits—and I say this with the great­est of re­spect for our me­dia friends—re­ally seem to en­joy the word “strat­egy.”

If you have a plan it’s just a plan. Any­one can have a plan. But if you call it a strat­egy, sud­denly jour­nal­ists are leaf­ing through Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and mak­ing oblique ref­er­ences to chess.

This has the ef­fect of mak­ing the ob­vi­ous seem com­plex. It makes for an in­ter­est­ing story. But our strat­egy—our plan—is ac­tu­ally ex­tremely straight­for­ward.

Canada is a con­fi­dent, cre­ative, re­source­ful and re­source-rich na­tion. We are a wealthy and in­flu­en­tial coun­try, by world stan­dards. But we are also a coun­try of 35 mil­lion, liv­ing next door to one roughly ten times our size—and the world’s only su­per­power.

From NORAD, the only joint-com­mand re­la­tion­ship in the world, to NATO, to counter-ter­ror­ism and to ba­sic street-level polic­ing, Cana­di­ans and Amer­i­cans work shoul­der-to shoul­der, keep­ing each other safe. As long as any of us here can re­mem­ber, and fur­ther back than that, we have done this.

My fa­ther, Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau, once com­pared this to sleep­ing next to an ele­phant. But while you, my Amer­i­can friends, may be an ele­phant, Canada is no mouse. More like a moose— strong and peace­able, but still mas­sively out­weighed.

My fa­ther, Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau, once com­pared this to sleep­ing next to an ele­phant. But while

you, my Amer­i­can friends, may be an ele­phant, Canada is no mouse. More like a moose—strong and peace­able, but still mas­sively out­weighed.

And so, we need to work harder to make our points, to ad­vo­cate for the in­ter­ests of Cana­dian fam­i­lies in a way that will con­nect down here. That ap­plies across the range of our na­tional in­ter­ests—from the fight against cli­mate change, to job cre­ation, to our com­mon de­fence.

Be­cause, let’s face it, this is an­other truth about good neigh­bours: Some­times we take each other for granted. Some­times the very depend­abil­ity and ease of a re­la­tion­ship can lead to us pay­ing it too lit­tle at­ten­tion. When that hap­pens, the prin­ci­pals in­vari­ably live to re­gret it.

My friends, we in Canada de­cided we would not al­low that to hap­pen to our re­la­tion­ship with the United States of Amer­ica. And I want to say that again for the folks back at home, be­cause it’s im­por­tant.

When I talk about the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing this re­la­tion­ship, I talk about it as a col­lec­tive. I say “we” be­cause this sen­ti­ment ex­tends through­out the cabi­net and cau­cus I lead, but it is ac­tu­ally big­ger than our gov­ern­ment or party. There is a high de­gree of sup­port for this across Cana­dian so­ci­ety.

As I was say­ing: the Canada-U.S. re­la­tion­ship is far too im­por­tant for us to as­sume that Amer­i­cans are as fo­cused on it as we are. Fo­cused on just how in­ter­linked our economies have be­come. And just how cru­cial this is to pros­per­ity and se­cu­rity on both sides of the bor­der—es­pe­cially for the mid­dle class, and those work­ing hard to join it.

Given the im­mi­nent mod­ern­iza­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, which we welcome by the way, we felt com­pelled to tell you Canada’s story, specif­i­cally as it re­lates to the United States.

It’s a great story. And not just for the nine mil­lion Amer­i­can work­ers whose jobs de­pend di­rectly on trade and in­vest­ment with Canada. But for all Amer­i­cans.

Now, some of you may have heard that last num­ber be­fore—along with the fact that two thirds of Amer­i­can states have Canada as their top ex­port mar­ket.

This may have some­thing to do with us re­peat­ing those num­bers to U.S. au­di­ences ev­ery chance we get.

The ex­port num­ber is true, by the way, for a ma­jor­ity of the states rep­re­sented here to­day, in­clud­ing: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Ken­tucky, Mary­land, Mas­sachusetts, Min­nesota, Mis­souri, Mon­tana, New Hamp­shire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ok­la­homa, Rhode Is­land, South Dakota, Ten­nessee, Ver­mont, Vir­ginia, and Wis­con­sin.

To boil this down to one point: Canada is your big­gest, best cus­tomer— by far. We’re a big­ger cus­tomer than China by roughly $152 bil­lion. Big­ger than Ja­pan or the UK. No one else comes close. In fact, Canada buys more from the U.S. than China, Ja­pan, and the UK com­bined.

Canada is your big­gest, best cus­tomer—by far. We’re a big­ger cus­tomer than China by roughly $152 bil­lion. Big­ger than Ja­pan or the UK. No one else comes close. In fact, Canada buys more from the U.S. than China, Ja­pan, and the UK com­bined.

We have been con­sis­tent this year— some might say, re­lent­less—in shar­ing that mes­sage, be­gin­ning in my reg­u­lar di­a­logues with Pres­i­dent Trump and fan­ning out from there.

The United States, Canada, and Mex­ico to­gether now ac­count for more than a quar­ter of the world’s GDP. Since the tri­lat­eral agree­ment went into ef­fect in 1994, U.S. trade with your NAFTA part­ners has tripled.

Let me tell you why.

This is the most suc­cess­ful eco­nomic part­ner­ship in the his­tory of the world. It’s worth about a tril­lion dol­lars each year, and most im­por­tantly, it’s bal­anced. More broadly, the North Amer­i­can Free Trade zone is the big­gest eco­nomic zone in the world, com­pris­ing a $19-tril­lion re­gional mar­ket of 470 mil­lion con­sumers.

The United States, Canada, and Mex­ico to­gether now ac­count for more than a quar­ter of the world’s GDP. Since the tri­lat­eral agree­ment went into ef­fect in 1994, U.S. trade with your NAFTA part­ners has tripled.

That ac­counts for mil­lions of well­pay­ing mid­dle-class jobs for Cana­di­ans, and Amer­i­cans. Free trade has worked. It is work­ing now. And those ties have grown well be­yond di­rect trade.

Cana­di­ans pay more than $500-mil­lion an­nu­ally in prop­erty tax, in Florida alone. And an­other 25,000 homes in Ari­zona are Cana­di­anowned. Some­thing to do with the weather, I sus­pect.

But NAFTA isn’t per­fect. No such agree­ment ever is. We think it should be up­dated and mod­ern­ized, as it has been a dozen times over the past quar­ter cen­tury. And I have ev­ery ex­pec­ta­tion it will be—to the ul­ti­mate ben­e­fit of work­ing peo­ple in all three part­ner coun­tries.

And I have to add this: We have been grat­i­fied by the se­ri­ous, re­spect­ful re­sponse our out­reach has met at all lev­els of Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. We thank our coun­ter­parts in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for that, and we thank all of you.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween our coun­tries is his­toric. It is a model to the world. It is of crit­i­cal im­por­tance for peo­ple on both sides of the bor­der that we main­tain it, and in­deed, im­prove it. We must get this right.

Some­times get­ting it right means re­fus­ing to take the po­lit­i­cally-tempt­ing short­cuts.

More trade bar­ri­ers, more local-con­tent pro­vi­sions, more pref­er­en­tial ac­cess for home-grown play­ers in gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment, for ex­am­ple, does not help work­ing fam­i­lies over the long term, or even the mid-term.

Such poli­cies kill growth. And that hurts the very work­ers these mea­sures are nom­i­nally in­tended to pro­tect. Once we travel down that road, it can quickly be­come a cy­cle of tit­for-tat, a race to the bot­tom, where all sides lose.

My friends, Canada doesn’t want to go there.

If any­thing, we’d like a thin­ner bor­der for trade, not a thicker one.

Now, there are some re­ally great ar­gu­ments to be made for keep­ing our bor­der thin when it comes to trade, even as we im­prove cross-bor­der law en­force­ment that makes Cana­di­ans and Amer­i­cans safer.

We will con­tinue to say to our friends and part­ners in Michi­gan and Ohio, for ex­am­ple: Con­sider cases like that of Magna In­ter­na­tional—a global au­to­mo­tive parts sup­plier head­quar­tered in On­tario.

Founded in 1957, Magna to­day em­ploys nearly 140,000 work­ers in 29 coun­tries. Half those work­ers are in North Amer­ica. Magna has 65 fa­cil­i­ties in the United States, 60 in Canada, 29 in Mex­ico.

Whether it’s CN in Louisiana, or Hy­dro-Que­bec in Maine, or Cott Cor­po­ra­tion in Mis­souri, or count­less other en­ter­prises and projects across the States, Cana­dian en­ergy, in­ge­nu­ity and cap­i­tal are there, help­ing you build Amer­ica—just as Amer­i­can en­ergy, in­ge­nu­ity and cap­i­tal are in Canada, help­ing us build our coun­try.

Here’s the point: Magna’s sup­ply chains span the bor­der. To a car part, the bor­der is in­vis­i­ble. Cana­dian com­po­nents are re­peat­edly in­cor­po­rated into more com­plex prod­ucts be­fore fi­nal as­sem­bly. A hy­dro­formed up­per cross­mem­ber starts in Strathroy, On­tario. It’s im­ported into Michi­gan for as­sem­bly into a car­rier and then in­cor­po­rated into a full front-end mod­ule in Ohio. Magna then sends the front-end mod­ules to Chrysler for fi­nal as­sem­bly. And Chrysler ex­ports the fin­ished Jeeps around the world.

Or take Canam Group, the par­ent com­pany of Canam Steel. Canam is head­quar­tered in Que­bec. It em­ploys roughly equal num­bers of Cana­di­ans and Amer­i­cans. Its plants in Point of Rock, Mary­land and Clare­mont, New Hamp­shire pro­vide jobs that are vi­tal to their com­mu­ni­ties. Canam’s

mar­ket is the con­struc­tion in­dus­try— which is a North Amer­ica-wide in­dus­try, by the way.

There are, lit­er­ally, too many ex­am­ples of this to name.

Whether it’s CN in Louisiana, or Hy­dro-Que­bec in Maine, or Cott Cor­po­ra­tion in Mis­souri, or count­less other en­ter­prises and projects across the States, Cana­dian en­ergy, in­ge­nu­ity and cap­i­tal are there, help­ing you build Amer­ica—just as Amer­i­can en­ergy, in­ge­nu­ity and cap­i­tal are in Canada, help­ing us build our coun­try.

And this, ul­ti­mately, is why I have such con­fi­dence in our shared fu­ture. And in the best ef­forts of ev­ery leader in this room, and in Wash­ing­ton, to nur­ture this re­la­tion­ship, to make it even bet­ter: We re­ally are in this to­gether.

I’m guess­ing that’s be­cause, as gover­nors, you face com­mon prob­lems, and share many of the same goals. I have no doubt you’re fo­cused on cre­at­ing the con­di­tions for good, well­pay­ing jobs for the mid­dle class in your states.

Whether Re­pub­li­can or Demo­crat, in this econ­omy, that’s prob­a­bly your first pri­or­ity. Well, guess what? It’s my first pri­or­ity as well. Pres­i­dent Trump has told me it’s also his. We all have this in com­mon.

This chal­lenge—how to en­sure the ben­e­fits of com­merce and trade are more broadly shared, so that ev­ery fam­ily can look for­ward to a brighter fu­ture—is among the most fun­da­men­tal of our time.

My friends, I be­lieve to my core that the most im­por­tant chal­lenge we face, as elected lead­ers, is that of cre­at­ing last­ing con­di­tions for pros­per­ity and se­cu­rity for all our peo­ple— in this, our shared North Amer­i­can home.

By virtue of our ge­og­ra­phy, by virtue of our in­ter­linked economies, this is work we are called to do to­gether— within a mod­ern­ized, re­newed and strength­ened North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

So, I will leave you with this: Let us meet this chal­lenge. Let us keep talk­ing, as neigh­bours and friends should. Let us roll up our sleeves. Let’s get to work. And let’s keep mak­ing his­tory, to­gether.

As de­liv­ered to the Na­tional Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion meet­ing in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land, July 14, 2017.

Scotti photo

Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau meets with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence dur­ing the Na­tional Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion sum­mer meet­ing in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land. Adam

Adam Scotti photo

“Canada buys more from the U.S. than China, Ja­pan and the UK com­bined,” Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau re­minds the Na­tional Gover­nors As­so­ci­a­tion in his key­note ad­dress.

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