To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued this tweet in response to the Donald Trump draconian 90-day ban of travelers from 7 predominantly Muslim countries — Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Iran, and Iraq.
There was initial concern and worry since the information wasn't clear about whether the ban also applied to Canadian dual citizens. The ban does apply to other dual citizens. A number of people did run into troubles and some had to change travel plans as a result of the uncertainty. Eventually, the Prime Minister's Office was able to find out that the ban did not apply to those who also have Canadian passports.
The Globe and Mail had a story on how the immigration ban can help the Canadian tech industry as a result of the uncertainty in the United States. That makes Trudeau's message that much more significant.
An open letter on behalf of law students facing uncertainty to the barriers in our education, with regards to the ban. pic.twitter.com/RQrxo5wjqC— Nadia B. (@nadiabakhtiari) January 29, 2017
Even if you think that the best solution is to stay in a country for the moment, I think of people crossing from Windsor to Detroit for work or school. Even if their country of origin isn't on a list, their commutes just got a lot worse.
We should point out that the ban appears to be arbitrary since people from those countries haven't been responsible for terrorism attacks in the United States and that countries where the U.S. president has business conflicts are not on the travel ban.
Also, the ban on those from Syria, the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and the 120-day ban on the refugee program seems especially contradictory since the fleeing Syrians are the enemy of ISIL. But in case you forgot about the contrast to the Syrian refugees between the Trudeau Government and U.S. states that freaked out over Syrian refugees, here is a past reminder.
Trump signed an executive order putting the Keystone XL pipeline back in play. Despite the cries of using U.S. steel being a theoretical dealbreaker, the order only specifies that U.S. steel be required "to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law."
The same parameters of concern still remain in a potential Keystone XL pipeline, such as the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. As few outlets note but we know that the southern half of the pipeline is being built. A plan could be drawn to go around the aquifer and still have a viable pipeline. After all, the middle of the U.S. has a few pipelines already in place.
We may ultimately get the answers to questions that seemed pointless 6 months ago.
Canada would benefit greatly from the Keystone XL pipeline in terms of oil sales. The implication at the time was that Canada would have more jobs because of the building of the pipeline. But that always seemed insignificant compared to the jobs in the oil sands as a result of the unrefined bitumen flowing through the pipeline. Then again, Canada would have many more jobs if the unrefined bitumen was refined in Canada and not Texas.
The pipeline is being touted as a job creator for the United States. However, numbers from the U.S. government before the transition put that at under 4,000 jobs if the pipeline took a year to build. The refinery in Texas would get more jobs though those numbers are pretty small. The U.S. takes virtually all the risk in case of an oil spill.
The most intriguing question is still where the oil will ultimately go. The insinuation was that the oil was destined for the United States. The oil is presumably going to foreign markets outside North America, hence the need to take the unrefined bitumen to Texas. When people find out that the U.S. environment will be at risk for oil that won't even be used by U.S. citizens, will that change the perception of the Keystone XL pipeline?
Speaking of Texas, much of the path was seized through eminent domain, which is the way government can justify taking or using private land. Eminent domain is a sore spot for many conservatives but interesting not the current U.S. president, who made money off the practice.
Donald Trump took a page from the Stephen Harper playbook. The ban on scientists from speaking about their research sounded familiar to Canadians. The Harper Government was criticized for muting scientists while the Conservatives were in power.
The executive orders affected scientists at the EPA, USDA, and CDC.
The Harper Government also phased out the federal science adviser and got rid of important research stations. Like many of the pages from the Harper Government playbook, these ideas were taken by the George W. Bush regime, especially about scientists speaking out on climate change.
You could argue that since most conservatives are against fixing damage from climate change that there is only a single playbook. Most of Harper's damage came when the Republicans were out of power in the United States, so there was a continuation next door. Also, we doubt seriously that the current U.S. president was even aware of what Harper was doing in Canada.
Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and signed an executive order to renegotiate NAFTA. So the auto industry on the Canadian side is nervous and in waiting mode. Then again, the big news of the week was General Motors Canada cutting 625 jobs at its assembly plant near London, Ontario, and moving those jobs to Mexico. The labour cost was specifically cited as the reason. You don't have to like Trump to find the NAFTA renegotiation sounds a bit more tempting.
Right now, Canada's labour costs are lower in one key area versus the United States: health care. Will that become a factor in NAFTA negotiation?
The current U.S. regime has talked about bringing back torture. In an interview with ABC News, Trump insisted torture works as a way of getting information.
Most Americans don't know the story of Maher Arar but Canada knows his story. The Canadian was flying through the United States and was seized by the U.S. and tortured in Syria under the George W. Bush regime.
twitter credit: Twitter/JustinTrudeau; Twitter/nadiabakhtiari