U.S. President Donald Trump kicked his weekend off by escalating the rhetoric around the ongoing trade tensions between Canada and the United States.
Speaking in his trademark baby-talk, Trump lamented that “Canada has been ripping us off for a long time,” before demanding that “they’ve got to treat us fairly.” But he didn’t stop there.
“I don’t want to do anything bad to Canada. I can — all I have to do is tax their cars, it would be devastating. If I tax cars coming in from Canada, it would be devastating,” he told reported outside Air Force One on his way to a Republican fundraising event.
What he’s talking about is tariffs on cars made in Canada that are imported to the United States. Namely, that includes vehicles produced from the “Detroit Three” U.S. automakers – General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler – that have production facilities in Canada. In 2017, Canada sent $72 billion CAD in automobiles and parts south of the border.
President Trump figures his tariffs on this flow would pretty much end Canada as a country. “Actually, on some countries, including Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination of the country,” he said. “That’s how big it is. It’d be the ruination of the country. Now, they’ve taken advantage of us for many decades. We can’t let this happen anymore. We have a country to run.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – not to mention the American auto industry itself – has vowed to retaliate against any tariffs Trump would impose on Canada’s cars.
The motivation behind Trump’s auto threat stems from stalled NAFTA talks that the American president blames on Canada’s commitment to protecting its dairy farmers. In other words, it’s an war on cars to solve a war on milk. It’s only a matter of time before Trump expands his nuclear arsenal and comes for our water.