Go­ing Trump-free

Annapolis Valley Register - - OPINION -

At­lantic Cana­di­ans can play a role in a grow­ing na­tional push-back against U.S. pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his trade and tar­iff poli­cies that un­fairly pe­nal­ize this coun­try. A boy­cott of Amer­i­can goods is gain­ing mo­men­tum. You can pick a slo­gan to fit your per­sonal pri­or­ity: ‘Buy Cana­dian’ or ‘Go Trump-free.’ Ei­ther works.

The move­ment be­gan when the pres­i­dent made per­sonal at­tacks against Canada and its prime min­is­ter for op­pos­ing U.S. tar­iffs. The pres­i­dent’s tirade was shock­ing. We are deal­ing with a bully who re­acts in anger when Canada says it won’t be pushed around. We are tak­ing a stand against puni­tive tar­iffs on lum­ber, steel and alu­minum – and threats on our auto in­dus­try and dairy sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem.

Our re­solve was strength­ened af­ter watch­ing the hor­rors of chil­dren be­ing sep­a­rated from par­ents at U.S. bor­ders. When you let a bully get away with such be­hav­iour, it only en­cour­ages more of the same. It may not be an of­fi­cial or gov­ern­ment-sup­ported boy­cott of Amer­i­can goods, but as prov­inces, as re­gions, as com­mu­ni­ties and as in­di­vid­u­als, we can do some­thing, and we can make a dif­fer­ence.

Look for the maple leaf brand and buy lo­cal when­ever pos­si­ble. It can be as easy as switch­ing from Florida or­ange juice to An­napo­lis Val­ley ap­ple juice. There are lots of op­tions to ful­fill our sense of jus­tice and pride in coun­try. Busi­nesses are urged to stick that Cana­dian sym­bol promi­nently on prod­ucts head­ing for ex­port. We need our Chi­nese, Ja­panese, In­dian, Euro­pean and other trad­ing part­ners to know they are buy­ing Cana­dian.

Canada has promised to re­tal­i­ate equally on July 1 for the pres­i­dent’s lat­est tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum. It may well in­vite an ad­di­tional Amer­i­can re­sponse. Pres­i­dent Trump is also es­ca­lat­ing his tar­iff at­tacks on China and that coun­try is promis­ing to re­tal­i­ate – on U.S. lob­ster and soy­beans, as ex­am­ples. If that hap­pens, At­lantic Cana­dian farm­ers and fish­er­men could ben­e­fit.

It’s eas­ier dur­ing this sum­mer sea­son to make a de­ci­sion to buy lo­cal fruits and vegeta­bles. It will be a truer test of our re­solve later in the year when Cana­dian food prod­ucts cost more. Can we make a trip to the su­per­mar­ket and go “Trump-free” by not buy­ing a sin­gle Amer­i­can prod­uct?

It might not seem im­por­tant in the greater scheme of things, but why is our su­pe­rior Cana­dian lob­ster known by the sci­en­tific genus ‘ho­marus amer­i­canus.’ Why are our de­li­cious crus­taceans known as Amer­i­can lob­ster? Nova Sco­tia, New Brunswick, Prince Ed­ward Is­land, New­found­land and Labrador and Que­bec fish­er­men and pro­ces­sors don’t want to give this false im­pres­sion to our over­seas cus­tomers. It’s time for a new genus – ho­marus cana­di­anus – and stamp those lob­ster crates proudly with that name and maple leaf.

As Saltwire colum­nist Rus­sell Wanger­sky notes, “if you’re mak­ing a sac­ri­fice for your prin­ci­ples, the gen­eral idea is that you have to sac­ri­fice some­thing.” If that means go­ing with­out, pay­ing a lit­tle more or buy­ing a sub­sti­tute prod­uct, then so be it. We can do it.

The fi­nal week of school takes me back to Grade 9 and a year-end wood­work­ing project.

It was for in­dus­trial arts, a re­quired course not meant for me.

I was then, and I re­main, Canada’s least-hand­i­est per­son. The earth worms in your gar­den are bet­ter with their hands than me.

Mr. Ciz, in­dus­trial arts in­struc­tor and ul­tra-cool teacher, found that out the loud and ex­pen­sive way in one of the first classes that year.

Af­ter he spent con­sid­er­able time teach­ing us how to use the band saw, I busted it sec­onds into my turn. I’ll never for­get the loud clang­ing noise the bro­ken saw made or the sight of him stand­ing at the back of class with hands over his head and, in a de­feated voice, say­ing, “Steve, you broke my band saw!”

Not that in­ter­ested in wood­work­ing and fear­ing a re­peat of the band saw in­ci­dent, I steered to­wards projects re­quir­ing only ham­mers and hand saws for the rest of the year.

So, while my class­mates were us­ing lathes and routers to make elab­o­rate things like lamps and frames, I was mak­ing a key rack.

Here’s my elab­o­rate blue­print: a var­nished block of pine plus three hooked screws equals a key rack. It earned a grade of C or a D, help­ing po­si­tion me not-so-per­fectly for a year-end project worth 50 per cent of the fi­nal mark. The wood chips were down. I needed a suc­cess­ful project.

Ciz re­al­ized this, and that de­spite my bad ap­ti­tude, I had good at­ti­tude. He gen­uinely wanted me to suc­ceed and en­cour­aged me to find a project I’d love to com­plete.

So, as the year wound to a close, he gave me the green light to com­plete what is likely the lamest project in school wood-work­ing his­tory — a bas­ket­ball back­board.

Yup, I cut a sheet a ply­wood in a half, painted it white, and screwed a bas­ket­ball rim on it.

It was ter­ri­bly un­com­pli­cated, but I’d ar­gue my project got more use and gave its cre­ator more en­joy­ment than any other made in the shop that year. I spent hours and hours shoot­ing bas­kets, some­thing I still love to do.

I don’t re­mem­ber the ac­tual grade, but Ciz gave me a de­cent mark for the back­board and the year.

That was a re­lief be­cause I was ner­vous about flunk­ing in­dus­trial arts and, at that point, I was an hon­ours stu­dent who had never failed a test, let alone a course.

I al­ways think about Ciz and that back­board dur­ing the last week of school — even though it was 35 (gulp) years ago.

His ac­tions taught me about ap­ti­tude, com­pas­sion and pa­tience, and that a one-size-fits-all ex­pec­ta­tion is not al­ways prac­ti­cal.

I salute him, and as an­other school year ends, all the teach­ers who helped stu­dents get through in 2018.

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