OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – In a rare show of unity, Opposition Members of Parliament are standing behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to fight new tariffs from the United States.
With politicians on both sides of the House supporting retaliation against penalties on Canadian steel and aluminum, John Ries, a professor with UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says that might lead to US President Donald Trump backing off.
“Americans need to realize that a trade war is going to be bad for everyone including themselves and I think they’re going to feel that most acutely if some of their access to foreign markets starts to be restricted.”
Canada is facing penalties of 25 per cent on Canadian steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, but Ries says there’s still hope no tariffs will be imposed.
“Part of this is creating bargaining chips to sit down at the negotiating table. Obviously, we don’t want to be held hostage to these tariffs Donald Trump has arbitrarily put in place, but there are other things that we would like to see in terms of advancing the free trade agenda.”
Without any resolution, Trudeau has promised to impose retaliatory tariffs on metals and a range of other US products by Canada Day.
The US President is also making threats against Canada’s dairy producers and automakers.
Ries says it could take a while for Canadian consumers to suffer.
“I think the impact will be small unless the trade war escalates into things like autos.”
Meanwhile, Monday’s Question Period in Parliament wasn’t as contentious as it normally is.
Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen says her party is united with the Liberals when it comes to defending Canada’s trade interests.
“We are all Canadians first and we will stand with Canadian workers and the families impacted by this escalating trade war.”
Ries says that strong stance could help more Americans realize they don’t want a trade war with Canada.
“Congressmen, politicians, people, you know realizing this is a bad thing–maybe that message will get to Donald Trump and we can hope he’ll listen, although one might not be very confident that he’ll listen to reason.”