THE GUARDIAN SENDS OPEN LETTER TO U.S. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY
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.