Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In

‘The federal government announced retaliatory tariffs in response to the U.S. tariff on Canadian steel, to start July 1. What do you think of this response?’

By Laura Ryckewaert      
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland make their way to the National Press Theatre in May, when they announced the government's plans to retaliate against the U.S. tariffs. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

Cameron Ahmad

Liberal strategist

“As the prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the day the administration made the announcement, these tariffs are completely unacceptable. Canada has been the most steadfast and reliable ally of the United States for 150 years.

“In response to these measures, our government announced the intention to impose tariffs against imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the United States representing the total value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. measures. We are imposing dollar-for-dollar tariffs for every dollar levied against Canadians by the U.S., applying only to goods originating from the United States, to take effect July 1, and remain in place until the U.S. eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada.

“Our steel and aluminum workers have our government’s full, unequivocal support. The unilateral trade restrictions by the U.S. are in violation of NAFTA and World Trade Organization (WTO) trade rules, which is why Canada launched dispute settlement proceedings in response.

“It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat, and we will continue to defend our workers, industries, and interests while opposing the measures taken by the U.S, and responding appropriately.”


Cory Hann

Conservative strategist 

“The announcement of new U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum is unacceptable and represents a serious blow to the workers who rely on this industry to put food on the table for their families. Canada’s Conservatives stand with them and the entire industry, and we will always put workers first.

“It was just two months ago, however, when Justin Trudeau promised workers in Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan that he had resolved this issue. But now the industry is facing massive new tariffs. Clearly the prime minister failed.

“This threat to the steel and aluminum industry has been looming for a year, and we warned the Liberals their government was unprepared for this development. There was nothing in their latest budget as a contingency should this happen.

“It’s yet another cost to the Canadian economy, which has already seen billions in foreign investments leave the country under Justin Trudeau, and critical pipeline projects such as Northern Gateway and Energy East being shut down by the Liberal government.

“Our support is only reinforced when confronted by protectionist measures from our trading partners around the world.” 

Mathieu R. St-Amand

Québec debout strategist

“Canada had to respond to U.S. trade protectionism. Let’s be clear—the U.S. tariffs are illegal, and Canada had to file a complaint with the WTO. Hiking tariffs on targeted products from specific electoral districts appears to be a good strategy.

“The major Canadian and Quebec aluminum and steel producers are robust enough to handle U.S. tariffs. However, we must not forget the industry’s smallest players, particularly those who process both metals. Much of their production is sold in the United States, and they often do not have the funds to withstand the new U.S. tariffs.

“Unfortunately, processors have been largely forgotten in Canada’s response. There are close to 14,000 processors in Quebec. The minister needs to quickly set up an emergency fund to support them. As with softwood lumber, the aluminum and steel processing industry must have access to loan guarantees to weather the U.S. offensive. Justin Trudeau should have announced his support for the industry at his first press conference, with figures and credible tactics. Show the government’s full support for our producers.”

Debra Eindiguer

Green strategist

“The fourth principle of Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal is ‘know your market.’ It’s unclear whether Chrystia Freeland’s team was inspired by ‘the Donald,’ but they certainly have demonstrated knowledge of American markets. What do felt-tip pens, motorboats and gherkins have in common?  They’re all pressure points designed to make Trump flinch and loosen his grip over the House of Representatives.

“Donald Trump, the most famous realtor in recent history, approaches trade negotiations with the mindset of a pre-capitalist medieval landlord constantly warring with neighbouring barons over territory and its rents. Capitalism is based on the wisdom, when partners have a similar standard of living such as Canada and the United States, that open markets and comparative advantage mutually benefit trading partners. In their capacity to think internationally the founders of liberal economics were able to ‘think big.’ Ironically, that is the first principle of Trump’s The Art of the Deal but it’s difficult to detect any evidence of big thinking in his bellicose posturing over trade.

“Trump’s presidency is just over 500 days old and already his unpredictability is legendary. Fortunately, Canada’s non-partisan NAFTA negotiating team and the astute civil servants at Global Affairs have proven to be exemplary in their level of preparedness. Slapping the U.S. with retaliatory tariffs is far from ideal, it’s even illiberal. But when in Rome one must do as the Romans do—and, if possible, do it better.”

The Hill Times 

Explore, analyze, understand
Inside Ottawa Directory – 2019 Edition
The handy reference guide includes: riding profiles, MPs by province, MP contact details, both Hill and constituency and more.

Get the book
2018 Guide to Lobbyist Gifting Rules
The 2018 Guide to Lobbyist Gifting Rules is the essential resource for your work on federal issues.

Get the book
Related Policy Briefings
Agriculture Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Biotech Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning

Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Nearly 100 new MPs offer new face of Parliament, including 60 in flipped seats

In many ways the incoming Parliament looks quite similar to its predecessor, with 240 returning MPs, the same number of MPs who are Indigenous or a visible minority, and 10 more women.

Rise of advance voting raising questions about impact on, and of, campaigns: experts

Almost 4.8-million Canadians voted at advance polls this year, according to Elections Canada estimates, a roughly 30.6 per cent increase over 2015, accounting for roughly one-quarter of all ballots cast this election.

Watchdog’s proposed minority Parliament rules ‘appalling,’ says legal expert

News|By Mike Lapointe
Democracy Watch says Governor General should speak with all party leaders before deciding who can try forming government, but Emmett Macfarlane says the confidence convention is the linchpin of the parliamentary system.

McKenna may be moved to new cabinet role after four years implementing Grits’ climate policies, say politicos

News|By Neil Moss
Catherine McKenna's 'tenure in environment would have prepared her well for any other kind of responsibility the prime minister may assign,' says former environment minister Jean Charest.

‘They went with what they knew’: Politicos react to Election 43

'If anybody should've won a majority, it should've been Trudeau. He didn't, and it's his to wear,' says CBC columnist Neil Macdonald of the Oct. 21 election results.

‘A clear mandate’: Trudeau wins second term, with voters handing Liberals a minority

News|By Beatrice Paez
Though not improbable, his victory was not inevitable. It brings an end to a nail-biting, gruelling 40-day slog that has exposed deepening rifts across the country.

McKenna wins re-election in Ottawa Centre, trumpets voters’ support for climate fight

News|By Neil Moss
'I’m so relieved,' Catherine McKenna said, about continuing with the Liberal climate change plan.

Election 2019 was a ‘campaign of fear,’ say pollsters

'There may well be a message to this to the main parties, that slagging each other will only take you so far,' says Greg Lyle.

Election 2019 campaign one of the most ‘uninspiring, disheartening, and dirtiest’ in 40 years, says Savoie

News|By Abbas Rana
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she has never seen an election where mudslinging overwhelmingly dominated the campaign, leaving little or no time for policy discussion.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.