Be vocal with Trump, Doer tells business

  • 18 Nov 2016
  • Calgary Herald
  • AMANDA STEPHENSON

Be vocal with Trump, Doer tells business

President-elect knows about making deals, former ambassador says

Canadians will need to be vocal in defending their business interests and the Canada-U. S. trade relationship under a Trump presidency, Canada’s most recent ambassador to the United States told a Calgary crowd Thursday.

Gary Doer, the former Manitoba premier who served as Canada’s ambassador in Washington from 2009 until March of this year, said in a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that he believes Donald Trump is a strong deal-maker who will likely exceed pundits’ expectations in the role of president.

But he cautioned Trump’s protectionist, populist stance — along with his promise to rip up NAFTA — means Canada will have to be “loud and proud” about the benefits of free trade to both economies.

“We’ve got a job to do. You can’t rest on your laurels, you can’t rest on the status quo, and you can’t rest on your existing trade agreement,” Doer said. “Canada is the largest customer of goods and services coming from the United States of any country in the world, and we buy more goods and services from the United States than the whole European Union. We’ve got to say that over and over and over again.”

Doer said a Trump presidency and an overhaul of NAFTA could ignite cross-border trade disputes over issues like softwood lumber or Canada’s supply-managed dairy system. In addition, the presidentelect’s determination not to go ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement will mean significant lost export opportunities for Alberta’s beef industry.

Still, the ex-ambassador downplayed fears the next four years could result in a major chilling of cross-border trade, adding that ultimately, Trump is a deal-maker.

“We’re their biggest customer,” Doer told reporters after his speech. “And a person like Donald Trump, who is a business person, understands you take care of your best customer first.”

On the energy front, a Trump presidency represents opportunities for Canada, Doer said. The president-elect has made it very clear he is pro-energy development and has a desire to eliminate U.S. dependency on oil from the Middle East.

“We’re going to see a desire on the part of the United States to have more energy and oil developed in their country and in this neighbourhood,” Doer said.

“I believe there is an attainable goal of getting the United States off OPEC oil in the next five years. I think it will bring thousands of jobs, bring lots of investment, and it’s doable.”

Doer declined to say whether or not he believed the Keystone XL pipeline will be built under a Trump administration, but did say he believed the project would be given a “more scientific view” with “less political tilting” under the new president.

However, Canada’s priority should be getting a pipeline built in this country, rather than worrying about Keystone, he said.

“I think science will be more important for Keystone, I think getting approval through Nebraska is still important, but I would say getting a pipeline built in Canada strengthens the legitimacy of our arguments on other pipelines in North America.”

 

 

 

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on November 18, 2016, in economic impact, oil, political. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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