(JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Logs are piled up at West Fraser Timber in Quesnel, B.C., Tuesday, April 21, 2009.
Canadians shouldn’t be naive. Our country rarely matters much at all to the United States when it comes to their political decision-making process. If we did, the Keystone XL pipeline would have been built, Country of Origin Labelling for livestock never would have happened and Americans would be paying for their own customs plaza in Detroit.
There was broad agreement that the Canadian position on each of these issues made economic sense for the United States, but they were fought on a political battleground south of the border, where short-term domestic political gains won the day over long-term economic goals. Also, the ideological divide between U.S. President Barack Obama and former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper didn’t give either side much cross-border political capital to spend.
Now that it appears that the ideological barrier has been overcome (at least until January, when a new president is sworn in), I wonder if Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can’t offer more to our two countries than warm platitudes and camera fodder. The United States and Canada are in a sweet spot to get two big things done and score significant wins for both leaders: a new softwood-lumber agreement and the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.