The former Canadian ambassador to the United States says the country needs to be ‘loud and proud’ when dealing with a new Trump administration.
Donald Trump will take the oath of office in January after his stunning election victory on Nov. 8.
Speaking to business leaders in Calgary, Gary Doer said our country needs to make sure its message is heard when it comes to issues like NAFTA.
Trump has called NAFTA a “disaster” and said in 2015 that he would rip it up or renegotiate it if he ever won power.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was criticized after offering to sit down and talk about NAFTA following Trump’s victory. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said the offer “weakened” Canada’s position since- in her view – Trumps attack on the free-trade deal had not been aimed at Canada.
But, Doer said on Thursday that Canada is Washington’s biggest trade partner, buying more product than all of the European Union countries combined.
“We buy more goods and services than the whole European Union put together. We’ve got to say that over and over again,” Doer said.
“A person like Donald Trump as a business person understands, you take care of your best customers first.”
Doer also said he believes the U.S. will take steps to wean itself off OPEC oil, which would be good news for Canada. He added this country needs a pipeline to tidewater to give us credibility when asking Washington to give a green light to the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Getting a pipeline built in Canada, I think strengthens the legitimacy of our arguments on other pipelines in North America. Right now we’re in a situation where we’re proposing everywhere going through other places, but not our own country,” he said.
Doer said if the U.S. were to stop relying on OPEC oil, it would create a lot of jobs and investment.
-With files from Aurelio Perri