The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

An open let­ter to Mr. Sonny Per­due, U.S. Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture: Dear Sir: warm wel­come to At­lantic Canada. We hope you en­joy your visit to­day with Lawrence Ma­cAulay, our fed­eral min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, with whom you have de­vel­oped a warm friend­ship. We see that you will be dis­cussing agri­cul­tural and seafood co-oper­a­tion be­tween our two coun­tries. At­lantic Canada has a long­time trade re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. in seafood, lum­ber, agri­cul­ture and many other prod­ucts. It will be an op­por­tu­nity to see that our in­dus­tries are closely in­te­grated and that tar­iffs will hurt both coun­tries. Mr. Per­due, this week is an aus­pi­cious time for your visit, in light of the dam­ag­ing dis­pute over trade bar­ri­ers. We know you have a spe­cial rap­port with the pres­i­dent and your voice of rea­son is needed to­day around his cab­i­net ta­ble. Canada needs your sup­port in Wash­ing­ton. U.S. un­em­ploy­ment is at record low lev­els, the econ­omy is strong, the stock mar­ket is booming, and you have a $4-bil­lion trade sur­plus with Canada. Doesn’t this sug­gest that NAFTA is work­ing, es­pe­cially for the U.S.? Why does Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump think it’s such a bad deal? We are sur­prised at the pres­i­dent’s out­bursts against our coun­try and our prime min­is­ter; his un­fair tar­iffs; and the threats of more puni­tive ac­tion. It’s ur­gent that we reach a fair so­lu­tion — quickly. When you dis­cuss NAFTA and other bi­lat­eral is­sues to­day, re­mem­ber that At­lantic Canada has a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of At­lantic Cana­di­ans moved to the U.S. over the past 100 years or so and we con­tinue to have close con­nec­tions across your na­tion. We fought and died in var­i­ous wars to­gether. These are ties that bind. We hope that the pres­i­dent ac­cepts the in­vi­ta­tion from New­found­land and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball to at­tend the Broad­way mu­si­cal “Come from Away.” The premier can speak for all At­lantic Canada on the virtues of a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. be­cause each of our prov­inces has an his­toric con­nec­tion with Amer­ica. The mu­si­cal tells the story of how Gan­der, N.L., wel­comed more than 7,000 stranded air­line pas­sen­gers — mostly Amer­i­can — af­ter the ter­ror at­tacks against the World Trade Cen­ter. Halifax also shel­tered thou­sands of Amer­i­cans at the same time. We don’t know why Pres­i­dent Trump is crit­i­cal of Amer­ica’s long­time friends and al­lies. Ver­bal at­tacks against our coun­try are es­pe­cially hurt­ful when they come from a friend and ally. All par­ties in the House of Com­mons sup­port Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s de­ci­sion to re­tal­i­ate with our own tar­iffs. Cana­di­ans are united on this is­sue and we won’t back down. In short, we won’t be bul­lied. We’re con­fused about Pres­i­dent Trump’s real con­cerns. First it was lum­ber, then steel and alu­minum, then auto man­u­fac­tur­ing, and fi­nally, an ad­mis­sion the real tar­get is dairy. Will it be some­thing else to­mor­row? Sec­re­tary Per­due, you can talk straight facts in Wash­ing­ton. We know you can make a dif­fer­ence. Good luck. Signed: Your friends in At­lantic Canada.

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