Between the Lines

Between the Lines
Photography: Gage Skidmore

How Canada can oust The Donald

WANT TO KNOW what scares me the most about U.S. president Donald Trump?

It’s not his discomforting comfort boasting about sexual assault (“when you’re a star, they let you do it”) or his alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

It’s not his admiration for white supremacists (“some very fine people”), his affinity for dictator Kim Jong Un (“we have developed a very special relationship”) or his determination to befriend Russia’s autocratic overlord. (Let the record show that he went from praising Vladimir Putin in 2015, to distancing himself during the 2016 election, to returning to shades of his true self with his recent lobbying for Russia’s reinstatement in the G7).

It’s not even his arrogant disrespect and whichever-way-the-wind-blows-roll-the-dice tariffs against America’s historic allies and trading partners (Mexico, Canada, France, the U.K.…), or his horrifically heartless segregation of migrant children into big box refugee camps.

The thing that really scares me about Donald Trump? He’s not alone.

Even though he ran for office on a proudly racist anti-Mexican platform… despite rallies where he encouraged supporters to “knock the crap” out of protestors… and notwithstanding his prolific upchucking of outrageously unsubstantiated pronouncements so obviously false that anyone with even the slightest ability to think for themselves had to recognize he was little more than a caricature of his own made-for-TV personality—despite all of that, almost 63-million Americans bought what he was selling.

I met a couple of them on a recent vacation to Barbados. Over drinks at the resort pool, my husband dared to ask the obvious: what do you see in the man?

The Louisiana pair laughed at the naïve Canadians. “We don’t care who he bangs. We don’t care what he says. All we care about is that he’s there to protect American jobs. As long as he’s doing that, we’ll keep voting for him.”

And therein lies the secret to Trump’s demise—assuming Canadians have the guts to pull the trigger.
Dawn Chafe

Forget for a moment the fallacy of Trump as blue collar champion. Within this unfounded assumption lies the secret to Trump’s demise—assuming Canadians have the guts to pull the trigger.

In a June 19 Vice article, commentator Drew Brown called out the Justin Trudeau government for not suspending the Safe Third Country (STC) agreement with the U.S.: “As long as the United States uses industrialized child abuse as a means of border control, it is not a safe country for refugees, asylum seeker, or other migrants.”

I believe there are two things wrong with Brown’s argument.

First, he overlooks Trudeau’s diplomatic duty as a responsible leader; Justin has to walk an unenviable line between protecting Canada’s sovereignty and not antagonizing a country with superior military strength. You hope it doesn’t come to armed confrontation, but with Trump? Who the hell knows?

Second, why stop with the STC? Just as Trump is not acting in isolation, neither is Trudeau. If Canadians are as appalled by the American president’s behaviour as polls and news reports seem to suggest, then they have a moral responsibility to act by hitting Trump where it would hurt him the most— by attacking the jobs of the people with the power to take him out of office.

In other words: buy anything but American. Don’t go to visit. Don’t buy their products. Some 3.5 million Canadians visit Florida each year, double the number of visitors from any other country. Imagine the impact to Trump’s power base if Canadian dollars stopped flying south for the winter. Stop buying Jack Daniels and Harley Davidson. Boycott Heinz and Hershey. Essentially, avoid anything labeled “Made in the USA”. A country whose leader says we’re disrespecting them with our supposedly imbalanced trade doesn’t deserve your brand loyalty.

If enough Canadians practice pocketbook diplomacy, perhaps those 63-million American voters will realize that Trump is endangering, not protecting, their livelihoods. Then and only then will the people who put him in power take action to push him out of power.

Dawn Chafe
About Dawn Chafe

For the past 19 years, Dawn has been editor of Atlantic Canada’s most award-winning and largest circulation business magazine: Atlantic Business Magazine. Under her editorial direction, Atlantic Business Magazine has won 14 Atlantic Journalism Awards, three TABBIE international business press awards and two KRW national business press awards.

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