Much of the global business community watched, listened and read U.S. president Donald Trump’s comments during and following the G7 summit last week and for a Calgary business analyst, it was the last straw.
“It certainly feels like a trade war,” Ashleigh Hislop told CBC News Friday.
“A trade cold war maybe? I think there are a lot of threats being hurled and a lot of bravado but it is having real life consequences, so that’s the problem.”
Trump slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week as the G7 wrapped up.
“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” Trump tweeted, prompting a no-holds-barred response from CNN analyst Chris Cillizza.
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our <a href=”https://twitter.com/g7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@G7</a> meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!
“It’s easy to lose sight of what President Donald Trump (and some of his top staffers) said and did just before arriving in Singapore: Blow up an international gathering with some of America’s closest allies with a combination of erratic behaviour and hugely impolitic statements,” Cillizza wrote Monday.
Hislop says choosing Canadian over America consumer products is a step in the right direction.
“When you look at it with clear eyes, we can understand it impacts us all and our whole economy when our dollar is hanging in the balance,” she said.
“Right now it’s pretty much all we can do. We often sit back and think, ‘Well, Trump isn’t our president, what can we do? We don’t get to vote in that election.’ But we do get to vote with our dollars as consumers.”
‘Little to no noticeable effect’
A Calgary economist says that’s easier said than done.
“Canada and the United States have very tightly-interconnected economies. Products made here use a great deal of intermediate inputs from the United States,” Trevor Tombe said.
“Most of Canada’s trade, roughly two-thirds, is an input into the production of something else, rather than a final good. It’s very difficult to look at a product and know whether or not it’s an American one that you might want to boycott or one that looks Canadian but is actually mostly made of U.S. inputs.”
Tombe says on a smaller scale, not much will happen.
“It accomplishes very little unless done in concert with all sorts of other people. A single individual household would have little to no noticeable effect.”
But Scott Gilmore — in an opinion piece in Maclean’s this week — is looking at a bigger picture.
‘How Canadians can boycott Donald Trump’ lists companies consumers can avoid for the best bang for your buck.
“Whatever the reason, you’re reading this because you want to hit back and hurt Trump in the only place he cares about – his wallet. Here’s how,” Gilmore write in a piece that is being updated.
‘I don’t need to go to Disneyland that badly’
A popular Calgary blogger wants in on the action too.
“As long as the US is separating kids from parents and imprisoning them at the border, perhaps all of us should refuse to cross the border too,” Julie Van Rosendaal tweeted Friday.
“International tourism is a huge economic driver in the US. I don’t need to go to Disneyland that badly.”
As long as the US is separating kids from parents and imprisoning them at the border, perhaps all of us should refuse to cross the border too. International tourism is a huge economic driver in the US. I don’t need to go to Disneyland that badly.
And for Hislop, supporting Canada is what she badly wants to do, even if the effect is symbolic.
“When it comes to a trade war, our dollars are what they are fighting over and we may as well vote with them,” she said.
“The relationship is being sabotaged and if Canada is going to country suffering, then I need to do what I can to support my country.”