If you travel through Manhattan’s West Side, you might catch a glimpse of the HMCS Charlottetown, which pulled into NYC’s port on Sunday for five days. If you’re not sure which ship it is, look closely. It’s the one with the red maple leaf on its main beam.
Having the Canadian flag represented in NYC’s harbor reminds us of the unique relationship Canada and the United States share.
Together, we have made the continent a place of opportunity and peace for our citizens. Our economies are deeply connected, supporting millions of good jobs in both nations. We share water, air, sports, culture and a love for the outdoors.
Our defense partnership is particularly exceptional. It is anchored in a long history of Canadians and Americans defending our shared values and freedoms. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, is a great example. Every day, American and Canadian service members search the skies, ready to activate should a threat appear — as it did on 9/11.
When disaster strikes or when humanitarian assistance is needed, Canadian and American service members work in relief operations. As the opioid crisis hits communities on both sides of the border, our sailors join forces to interdict illegal drugs destined for North American markets.
It’s precisely because our bonds are deep that last year’s decision by the Trump administration to impose tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, citing national security concerns, remains perplexing.
The tariffs are not only baseless on national security grounds, but also from an economic perspective. Tariffs and countermeasures by Canada and other countries are taking a toll on the United States, making it harder for U.S. manufacturers to export, and causing consumer prices on imports and new building projects to rise.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. tariffs would come off when a new North American Free Trade Agreement was signed. Canada went into these negotiations in good faith and believes the agreement reached is a good one for all sides. We signed on to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year, and still these tariffs remain in place.
As we sail into a future that will inevitably bring new and more complex challenges, it is more important than ever for Canada and the United States to work closely, based on trust and confidence in each other.
Phyllis Yaffe is the consul general of Canada in New York.