Originally Published: June 19, 2018 6 a.m.
It’s amusing to see liberal Americans “virtue signaling” the world by “apologizing” for Trump for “attacking” Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.
According to these patriotic citizens, Trump is a boor, an insult-machine, crass and nasty. And he forced poor, traumatized Trudeau to courageously stand behind a podium with armed guards nearby squeaking, “We will not be bullied.”
All this went down after Trump had signed off on the G-7 agreement in which the United States and six of our allies, including Canada, all agreed to work together for peace, a clean environment, fair taxes and singing “kumbaya.”
Let’s you and I do something here that the Mika and Joe Scarboroughs of the world simply cannot bring themselves to do: look at the trade wars from the perspective of the people most affected by years of ongoing battles.
Canada actually dictates (Trudeau the dictator?!) how much milk, eggs and various dairy and poultry products farmers are allowed to produce, and at what price they may sell such products.
This was “put in place” by the benevolent bosses of the Canadian government to compensate for surplus production in the 1950s and 1960s.
To keep supply as stable as possible and make everything “fair,” the government benevolently blocks imports from the U.S. by whacking our dairy farmers with tariffs that are, as Trump has said, up to 270 percent on dairy products.
So, if any Canadian says, “OK there, now don’cha know you guys import more dairy to Canada than we sell to you,” it’s true because their government makes sure they don’t have much to spare.
Then, there’s timber.
When builders shop for materials, they want good quality that’s affordable and allows for a profit margin.
When the Canadian government subsidizes their timber industry to the point where Canadian timber costs nearly 10 percent less than local U.S. timber, builders are going to dial the Canadian area code.
Last November, the U.S. Department of Commerce released their final finding that imports of Canadian softwood lumber are being unfairly subsidized and “dumped” in the United States.
This is no small problem for American timber businesses.
Imagine being in this business, and then having to compete with Canadian companies whose government subsidizes about $5.5 billion worth of lumber so their companies can undercut yours.
The Department of Commerce’s report said exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber in the U.S. market at nearly 9 percent less than fair value.
Nine percent. That’s huge!
Add to that Canada is providing unfair subsidies at rates up to 18 percent.
So, when mean old Mr. Trump slapped tariffs of up to 24 percent on imported Canadian softwood lumber, Trudeau squealed like a squirrel chain sawed out of his home.
The Portland Press-Herald reported: “What we’ve desired all this time is a level playing field, and news like this gives us confidence,” said Jason Brochu, co-president of Pleasant River Lumber, which employs 300 people at (Maine) sawmills in Dover-Foxcroft, Jackman, Hancock and Sanford.
“With a strong presence from the government and such an emphasis on trade and jobs, it is timed perfectly for us to expand our operation and increase employment, which is exactly what we are going to do.”
U.S.-owned lumber companies have pushed for our government to counter these duties for years through the U.S. Lumber Coalition, which also has claimed Canada is dumping softwood lumber on the U.S. market below cost.
So, if you’re one of the Americans writing to Canadian news outlets to “apologize” for Trump, remember he’s keeping his promise to fight Trudeau’s Canadian tariff “bullies.”
All I ask is please don’t screw it up by suggesting Trudeau impose huge price increases for their delicious seven-year Canadian cheddar cheese.
It’s the best thing we get from Canada besides a well-manicured victim for American self-aggrandizing virtue signaling.
Rick Jensen is an annoying, award-winning Delaware talk show host and equally annoying national columnist. Email rick@DBCMedia.com.