Confession time. I’m a dual citizen, proud Cana-American. Granted, I spent only my first 11 years in Canada and have lived in the United States ever since. You actually have to be in my – or any other immigrants’ shoes – to understand the feeling that one is “home” when crossing the border, even as you love both countries, and I do. Truly.
It takes one hell of a lot to make Canadians angry, perhaps no other country is as well-known and appreciated for politeness and common sense, think Minnesota without the nice weather.
So, I knew that Trump was really pushing some boundaries when the “feud” even made the Canadian news. But, really, how could it not, he basically called the Canadians a bunch of liars, especially Justin Trudeau. Moreover, not only did he call Trudeau a liar, he basically called him a weenie, awaiting until Trump was safely at 30,000 feet before giving his speech. In fact, it was the exact opposite. It was Trump that played nice, played like he agreed to everything said at the G-7, until he ordered his team to release his statement after he left.
As an aside, this is exactly why NATO is so damn nervous, because, as we all know, Trump has both said plenty of anti-NATO stuff while president, AND, he’s going straight from the NATO meeting to a meeting with his boss, I mean Putin.
Back to the real story. Canadians, slow to anger, are also a people known for being sensible and proud, and thus not letting go of something that still lives, indeed it would seem their anger and intolerance is getting worse. Do not expect them to fold. Canadians, like the Brits, spend half their lives apologizing (we all make mistakes), and they expect it from others, too.
So, it should surprise absolutely no one that the Canadians will send signals that they are still furious. Signals like this, as told by Rawstory, but also seen all over the net:
The traditional Fourth of July picnic at the America ambassador’s residence in Ottawa has been the “talk of the town” in years past, CTV News reported. This year, however, they are expecting one fourth of the revelers to attend, with the guest list being shrunk from over 4,000 people to approximately 1,000.
“While some in the Ottawa social circuit bemoan having been left out this year, some who made the cut say they plan to stay away out of principle,” CTV explained. “Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and interim Ontario Liberal leader John Fraser are among those giving the event a pass, citing trade tensions and ongoing concerns with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.”
I lived in Toronto, my boss (here) lives partly in Ottawa, but is originally from Windsor across the river from Detroit. I lived in Spokane (in fact am here now), which is only 70 miles from the border. It is difficult to describe how the two countries have “shared” their holiday independence day parties for years and years.
Not just that, people in Detroit are famous for listening to Canadian radio stations to hear some “different music” and vice versa. In Toronto, we had Buffalo stations as our American cousins on cable (NBC, ABC, CBS, etc). Hell, even today, if you have cable in Edmonton (500 miles north of the border), and you want to watch American stations to get your “Law and Order” fix, or just watch the NFL, you will do so on Spokane stations.
These countries are friends.
For good reason, we’re a lot alike. Share a lot of the same values, and even shared the same missile defense system when we worried Soviet missiles coming over the pole. Not a lot of Americans know that – at various times – it has been a Canadian general or colonel who has led NORAD, because it is a joint operation among American and Canadian military forces.
But, the tensions now run deep. When you don’t want to go to your neighbor’s for a party, the issues are real. Of course there are some conservative Canadians that like Trump, but even they have a low tolerance for a president that comes and outright diss’s their leader. Canadian conservatives may not like Liberal Party leader and PM Justin Trudeau, but, like siblings, Trudeau is theirs to kick around, not some other country’s.
Really, please think about this. Right now, at this very moment, it would be nothing to think of Trump yucking it up at the White House with top Russian officials, as we’ve seen before (when released by Russian TV news). That is hard to imagine with Canadian officials.
No, it’s not all about trade, either. It’s about Trump being an asshole. When you visit someone else’s place – like Trump went over to Canada – you generally act nicely to your host, leave the “issues” you have for another time, OR, talk to them face to face, behind closed doors. Canadians seem to recognize this, and they haven’t heard an apology. They also know that one isn’t coming, because when has Trump ever felt like he’s done something wrong that deserves an apology? That, friends, is another sure way to offend people internationally-renowned for their polite and common-sense approach to the world.
It seems trivial.
The U.S. had no better friend than it did in Canada, and yet it seems (under Trump) that the U.S. is far more likely to want to get aggressive with Canada than Russia. That matters, because it just doesn’t happen that way, damn it. There is absolutely no good reason! You want trade issues? How about Russia dumping aluminum on our shores? Haven’t heard much about that, have you? No, and nor will you.
Oh, and the other thing that matters? Internationally, who do you think the world is going to prefer to deal with on every single occasion (with the possible exception of Russia and/or the Ukraine and Saudi Arabia), Donald J. Trump, or the most popular leader on the internet, Justin Trudeau? One is the definition of a self-absorbed jackass, the other, according to my wife, is the sweetest, best-looking, and sensitive leader in the world.
Advantage Canada. An unforced error if there ever was one. Actually, it occurs to me that the only reason the U.S. expects one out of four Canadian invitees to show up at their party is due to the long-standing friendships that developed long before Trump. Canadians are also loyal. But, they do have their limits. They are not the only country, as I expect we’ll find out in a few days.