Karl Merritt’s opinion piece in Up & Coming Weekly’s June 27 edition is an attack on my native country, Canada, despite his claim “to share what I hope is productive and accurate thinking through of this US/Canadian tariff dispute.” The information he provides does appear to be accurate, but only to the extent that it corroborates his point of view ... any information that would be favorable to Canada he pointedly refused to address.
The dairy product dispute is an example of Mr. Merritt’s unbalanced views. Canada may have restrictive tariffs to protect her dairy industry; however, Mr. Merritt fails to mention what are the actual economics of that trade, and is money not “where the rubber meets the road” where any trade is concerned? A report by Brookings, dated June 13 of this year, revealed that in 2017 the United States exported $792 million worth of dairy products to Canada and imported $149 million from Canada. That works out to an over 500 percent trade imbalance in favor of the U.S. Mr. Merritt and President Trump chose not to make that information public. Why?
Regarding the steel issue, Mr. Merritt again fails to provide all the pertinent information.
The U.S. produced and imported the amount of steel reported by Mr. Merritt; however, it also exported more than 12 percent of the domestic production. Why, if steel is a national security issue, does the U.S. export any steel? By not doing so would it not lessen the dependence on imports? And, yes, Canada is the leading producer of steel imported by the U.S. at 17 percent – but note that Mr. Merritt avoids telling readers that the U.S. provides 60 percent of Canada’s imported steel.
It is also revealing that Mr. Merritt fails to mention that the United Steelworkers Union opposed imposing tariffs on Canadian steel. Those who should most benefit from steel tariffs are opposed to including Canada as a tariff target. Ms. Holly Hart, the Union’s legislative director, said that the decision to impose tariffs on CANADA “is unacceptable and calls into question the design and direction of the administration’s trade policy.”
Mr. Merritt then goes on to attack Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for possessing the same attribute that he (Mr. Merritt) praised Donald Trump for possessing, understanding “that his first responsibility is to the citizens” of his country, Trump the U.S., Trudeau Canada. Mr. Merritt even repeats the characterization of the Prime Minister made by the president when he called the Prime Minister “dishonest.” May I remind Mr. Merritt that Donald Trump himself publicly admitted to lying to Justin Trudeau about U.S./Canada trade.
For Trump to call the Prime Minister “dishonest” is like the kettle calling the pot black, EH!
And then there is the national security issue, which caused Mr. Merritt to write that “his (Trudeau) dismissal of our (U.S.) national security concern does not reflect serious consideration of that concern.”
And yet, the aforementioned United Steel Workers Union legislative director, Ms. Hart, stated that “our history shows that there is no stronger ally and partner on national security than Canada.” The reality is that Canada and Canadians (although some of them reluctantly) acknowledge that the national security of Canada depends upon the national security of the U.S. Since World War II, our two countries have partnered to constantly address those mutual national security concerns. Fort Bragg is one example of that partnership with a Canadian general serving as a Deputy Commander of the 18th Airborne Corps.
Prime Minister Trudeau correctly stated that Canadians have stood sidebyside with Americans throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. He mentioned World Wars I and II, Korea, the Gulf, and Afghanistan. He could have included Viet Nam. During the Viet Nam era, tens of thousands of Mr. Merritt’s fellow Americans did all they could to avoid the draft and military service as if the military was the U.S.’s 20th-century version of Europe’s medieval bubonic plague. At the same time, thousands of Canadians came to the U.S. and voluntarily enlisted with the U.S. Armed Forces. The service of Canadians in Viet Nam is remembered and honored by the Canadian Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in Windsor, Ontario. The memorial includes a monument on which is inscribed the names of Canadians killed in Viet Nam while serving as U.S. soldiers, marines, airmen and seamen. Those names can also be found on the Viet Nam Wall in Washington, D.C. The reality is, Mr. Merritt, that the blood of Canadian volunteers helped to pay for the national security of the U.S. just as the blood of American volunteers helped to pay for the national security of Canada during the early years of World War I and II, prior to the official entry of the U.S. into those two wars.
Mr. Merritt, I was one of those Canadian volunteers. At the age of 18 I rode on a bus from Toronto, Ontario, to Buffalo, New York, and enlisted with the U.S. Army (January 1969). Less than a year later, I arrived in Viet Nam and spent 15 months with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, 14 of those months incountry.
Mr. Merritt, where was Donald Trump when you and Canadians were serving your, and his, country? Oh yes, he was one of those Americans who dodged military service.
– Michael Fleming
Editor’s note from Karl Merritt – I greatly appreciate this response to my column in that it exhibits the kind of positive dialogue called for in this week’s column titled, “Real Conversation: A Relic.”
– Karl Merritt