Edward Keenan, Toronto Star
June 24, 2020
WASHINGTON—With U.S. economy struggling, Canada and other countries risk being collateral damage as President Donald Trump swings wildly to show his supporters that he’s trying to spur an economic comeback.
That’s been apparent twice this week, on issues that seem custom-designed to signal to Trump’s supporters he’s playing his greatest hits: on immigration Monday, with an executive order temporarily suspending certain types of new work visas, and then on trade Tuesday, with reports the U.S. might reimpose tariffs on Canadian aluminum.
“The only policies that Trump has been consistent on are supporting higher tariffs and lower immigration. This is something he actually believes,” says Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who has worked for Sen. Marco Rubio. “He’s less than five months from an election and currently losing. He needs to shore up his base after a couple of really tough weeks.”
Flavio Volpe, president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, agreed, saying it’s a purely political move that won’t pay off. “I think it’s more likely than not that they formally trigger something this week,” he says, “and then, having triggered it, it’s more likely than not they’re gonna back off.”