Canada re­mains a vi­tal Amer­i­can ally

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This edi­to­rial ap­peared in the Pitts­burgh Post-Gazette:

The visit to Wash­ing­ton Mon­day of Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau seems to have gone rel­a­tively smoothly, in spite of the gen­eral fire­works un­der­way sur­round­ing Michael Flynn, the White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser who was forced to re­sign that evening. Trudeau could eas­ily have found the storm in­volv­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Flynn and Rus­sia of con­sid­er­able con­cern. Canada shares closely the de­fence of the north of North Amer­ica with the United States, is a fel­low NATO mem­ber, and is as close geo­graph­i­cally to Rus­sia as the United States is.

He might also have looked un­easily at Trump’s fall­ing out with Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Nieto, which led to his can­cel­la­tion or — we can hope — post­pone­ment of his sched­uled visit to the United States to meet with Trump.

The prob­lems be­tween Mex­ico and the United States, turn­ing in part on im­mi­gra­tion, are dif­fer­ent from those be­tween Canada and the United States, al­though Trump should not for­get that rene­go­ti­a­tion of the 1994 North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment would in­volve Canada as well as Mex­ico.

If part of Trump’s con­cern over im­mi­gra­tion — re­flected in his at­tempted ban on travel to the United States by cit­i­zens of the seven Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, cur­rently tied up in U.S. courts — is se­cu­rity, Canada’s more “open door” ap­proach to im­mi­grants, espe­cially from war-torn na­tions in­clud­ing Syria, is de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent and po­ten­tially riskier than the one Trump is at­tempt­ing to pur­sue.

Trump and Trudeau cer­tainly had much to dis­cuss. Apart from the travel that takes place across the long, largely un­de­fended bor­der, the two na­tions are im­por­tant trad­ing part­ners. Trudeau’s gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to cli­mate change is also dif­fer­ent from Trump’s so­far stated po­si­tion, not­with­stand­ing the fact that North Amer­i­can air is shared air.

The ef­fort at cor­dial­ity on the part of both lead­ers, in spite of their pol­icy and age dif­fer­ences, is wel­come to Amer­i­cans and Cana­di­ans. Per­haps the next step should be a three-part meet­ing, to draw in Mex­ico’s pres­i­dent. Trudeau would want to see that; Trump should want to see it.

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