If family-first is acceptable, why not country-first?

I wonder how many people are going to get upset by what they’re about to read. Keep in mind that editors write editorials and columns to stir people’s emotions and get them to e-mail either a supportive letter to the editor, or preferably, at least in my case (which I know sounds strange, but I get an odd satisfaction from it), an angry letter telling me how off base I am.

Back to my controversial point: Is it just me, or is Donald Trump doing exactly what he said he would do during his campaign for president? And if you agree that he is, isn’t it the weirdest thing to see an elected official do what they said they were going to do?

Take the softwood lumber issue. It certainly isn’t a good deal for Canada to have up to 24% duties put on lumber exports to the US. It hurts Canada’s lumber industry, and in turn, I can’t see it not having some kind of adverse effect on the trucking companies that haul timber, particularly in B.C. They may not be hit with the tariff directly, but if the companies they haul for have to slow production in any way because of the extra duties, then it goes without saying they will be indirectly affected by the duty.

During the campaign, Trump said he would do everything he could to bring American jobs back to the US and stop them from going overseas, to Mexico, or elsewhere – and it appears now Canada has become part of that offensive.

You can of course argue about the side-effects of Trump’s softwood lumber mandate – such as higher prices for lumber in the US resulting in increased housing costs – but there are many forestry and trucking companies down south applauding the new tariffs, saying the move will help their businesses.

US dairy farmers said the same when Trump cried foul over the rules surrounding Canada’s dairy system.

Say what you will about the manner in which Trump goes about getting things done, and some of the things he has said, but the US and Canada have had disagreements over lumber and dairy for many years. Former president Obama (and many before him) voiced those concerns on more than one occasion. But the fact remains, Trump is the only president who has actually followed through with those concerns.

People frequently complain that politicians make these threats but never follow through on them, or they say they will do something during a campaign just to get elected then renege on their promises. Trump, at least on the jobs front, does not seem to be that president.

In Canada (and half of the US), most of us will continue to criticize Trump and his administration, and will do so for many reasons, some personal, moral, political, and others simply because his policies are not good for Canada.

But how many people in Canada would just like to have their political leaders fight as hard for them as many in the US believe Trump is fighting for them?

Some of the largest US exports to Canada include automotive parts and accessories, computers, and agricultural products. I’m no trade expert, and I know it’s juvenile to slap tariffs on the US just because they did it to us, but I wonder if those who work in the vehicle, technical, or agriculture industries would benefit from a Canada-first attitude. We live our lives with a family-first approach, why not country-first?

Or, maybe history will prove Trump’s tactics will only alienate our neighbors to the south.

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and TruckNews.com. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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  • Putting ourselves first when we are on the cusp of change leading to a world that gives equal access to all human beings no matter where you live on the planet is an odd point of view. If that’s the case we should sign out of our devices, throw them on the trash heap of history and go back to a life of complete self sustainability. Protectionism won’t move us forward in todays world IMHO.

    As far as something like supply management in the dairy industry goes I think you first need to take a close look at the problems dairy farmers in Wisconsin are facing. The real problem isn’t the small market in Canada they have limited access to, it’s the over production of product. A lack of supply management. All rules and market controls are not necessarily a bad thing.

    Mr. Trump puts forward policy in 140 characters at a time. Poorly thought out with little attention to long term consequences of his protectionist approach to making America great again. He wants to go backwards along with his base. The rest of the world wants to go forward.

    We need to learn from the past, live in the present, and plan for the future. That means we ALL need to live together. That’s difficult. No amount of protectionism in the form of nationalism and flag waving is going to resolve the issues we need to solve in the global village we are all now part of.

    It’s interesting that men like President Trump have built their empires of wealth on global development and now they want to wall themselves off and put themselves first while their businesses thrive outside the walls they have built. What’s the old saying about cake?

  • Mr Goodhall, exactly what do you mean by “He wants to go backwards along with his base”? Please clarify that for me. I live close to the US border, and hear much US radio. Much of what I hear sounds like President Trump is moving forward.

  • His rhetoric implies that by applying past policies and practices the glorious days of the past can be recaptured. His rhetoric also divides it does not unite despite him proclaiming otherwise in his inauguration address.

    In retrospect I think I’m mistaken by sayinIg “He wants to go backwards along with his base”.

    If his base is the working men & women of America I’m at a loss as to how his policies will benefit them in a meaningful way. I work alongside and with these good people every week as I truck through the midwest US. To them I’m sure “Make America Great Again” is synonomous with – I want a secure job and decent income to support my family and I’m willing to work hard and diligently to achieve it.

    You may disagree with my opinion but it’s based on what I see and experience not what I hear through the media, mainstream or otherwise.

    Saying he wants to go backwards along with his base is a poor choice of words on my part. You are right to question that. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Hi-as a Canadian I am not necessarily a Trump fan, but he is the first President that has at least followed through on promises of platform speeches, and in his way trying to change America’s spending. Trudeau is accumulating debt in Canada daily,he has no idea regarding finance or Prime Ministers position as head of Canada! His father was at least an intelligent man, even though he leaned towards the Socialist ideals. Both were wealthy and no idea of the average mans challenges to survive!