Canada – U.S. November 2021

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Mysterious drop in loon population prompts cross-border collaborations in North America
Loons are having fewer and smaller chicks, which are less likely to survive. Most surprisingly, young, non-breeding adults are also dramatically in decline — but no one knows why. Volunteers from Canada and the United States are on a quest for answers.

28 July
U.S. electric vehicle tax credit could spur ‘rebirth of Canada’s auto sector,’ industry representative says
Original ‘Buy American’ bill shut out Canadian automakers; new bill must still pass Congress
Canadian automakers were relieved to hear that a U.S. bill that would have seen consumer tax credits for EVs limited to U.S.-made vehicles could be expanded to North America after Democrats in the U.S. Senate reached a deal.
Canadian automakers breathed a sight of relief Thursday after U.S. lawmakers scrapped part of a massive incentive package for electric vehicles that would have excluded those assembled in Canada from a proposed consumer tax credit.
The $7,500 US credit for “clean vehicles” — which include battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell — is part of $369 billion in proposed new spending on energy- and climate-related projects included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

10 July
Canada needs to disaster-proof its relationship with the United States: experts
By Chelsea Nash
Former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman wants to see a bilateral agreement between the two countries to ‘codify’ the important parts of the relationship while Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau are both still in office.
(Hill Times) Increasing political polarization in the United States has prompted some Canada-U.S. expert observers to call for the Canadian government to prepare itself for worst-case scenarios south of the border.
In the wake of the reversal of the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, as well as the revelations of the congressional hearings into the events on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021, some expert observers say Canada needs to disaster-proof its relationship with the United States in preparation for worsening political instability in that country in the future.

9 June
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden
(Gov. of Canada Readout) Today [9 June], Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to reiterate their commitment to deepening the Canada-U.S. partnership on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global challenges.
The leaders discussed Putin’s illegal and unjustifiable military aggression against Ukraine, the immense human grief and suffering, and stressed their unwavering commitment to continue supporting the government and people of Ukraine. The leaders agreed to continue their close cooperation on sanctions alignment, and on economic, humanitarian, military, and other forms of assistance, and to continue working with partners and allies to maintain unity in the face of Russia’s disregard for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the rules-based international order.
The Prime Minister noted Canada’s commitment to the defence and security of NATO Allies, and of the North American continent. He outlined Canada’s recent defence spending commitments in Budget 2022, and discussed support of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) modernization.
On the Summit of the Americas, the Prime Minister and the President shared their mutual commitment to the Summit theme of “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future.” The Prime Minister noted his commitment to supporting inclusive economic growth, pandemic recovery, climate action, the green transition, and democratic resilience in the hemisphere. The Prime Minister expressed his support for President Biden’s Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, and looked forward to working together with the President and other hemispheric partners to advance the well-being of people across the hemisphere.
The Prime Minister and President discussed irregular migration and forced displacement, and reiterated their commitment to working together to address the root causes of migration. The Prime Minister expressed his support for the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, and his commitment to enhance cooperation with the U.S. and other partners to respond to the current humanitarian, protection, and irregular migration challenges in the region.
The Prime Minister and President discussed the ongoing crisis in Haiti.
The leaders noted the polarizing effects of disinformation, and the grave threat it poses to civil societies, especially in Russia.

15 March
White House to withdraw key agricultural trade nominee
The Biden administration plans to pull Elaine Trevino’s nomination as chief agricultural negotiator at USTR.
(Politico) The withdrawal of Trevino’s nomination, however, will prolong the vacancy in a key role at USTR at a time when agricultural trade and rising food prices have attracted global interest. Russia’s war in Ukraine has triggered foreign export controls on grain and prompted rising concern about food supplies around the world. Agricultural negotiations are also a major component of the Biden administration’s proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. And at home, farm groups want USTR to make sure that China, Canada, Mexico and other countries are honoring previous commitments they made to open their markets to U.S. farm goods.

8-10 February
U.S. offers Trudeau government help to end border blockade
White House says Homeland Security chief urged Ottawa to use its powers to quash the blockade
(CBC) The White House says U.S. officials had multiple conversations on Thursday with their Canadian counterparts about the blockade on the Ambassador Bridge, a major trade artery which connects Windsor, Ont. with Detroit.
The White House said Thursday the U.S. federal cabinet and senior administration staff are now seized with this issue.

Canada must end the Ambassador Bridge blockade, says Michigan congresswoman
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell says Canadian officials must bring an end to the blockage at the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor, Ont., to Detroit.
(CBC As It Happens) The blockade at the Ambassador Bridge has Americans wondering whether the U.S. is too reliant on Canadian manufacturing, a Michigan congresswoman says.
Protesters demanding an end to pandemic restrictions have been blocking access to the bridge that connects Windsor, Ont., to Detroit for four days as of Thursday. It’s one of several anti-mandate protests across the country.
The demonstration has, so far, remained limited to the Canadian side of the bridge, which is a major U.S.-Canada trade route, especially for the automotive industry. However, traffic has been blocked in both directions.

U.S. politician uses blockade at Canada-U.S. border to argue for Buy American
Ambassador Bridge shutdown has hit car plants at an awkward moment
A U.S. lawmaker has seized on blockades at the Canada-U.S. border to argue for more Buy American-style policies and for less reliance on buying goods from Canada.
The call from Michigan Democrat Elissa Slotkin comes as the protest at a vital Windsor-Detroit crossing has slowed commercial cargo delivery and hit car plants, with several companies stopping production.
“Michiganders have been saying for decades that when our manufacturing is outsourced too much, we end up paying the price,” Slotkin wrote in a series of tweets Wednesday night.

Anti-vaccine mandate protests spread across the country, crippling Canada-U.S. trade
(CBC) Federal ministers warned Wednesday that anti-vaccine mandate protests at two key Canada-U.S. border crossings have the potential to seriously disrupt the flow of goods in the days to come.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Ottawa, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said the blockade at Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge is particularly alarming because a quarter of all Canada-U.S. trade moves through that one crossing, which connects Canada with Detroit and points beyond.
Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products have been held back for three days as 50 to 75 vehicles and about 100 anti-mandate protesters camp out on the main road that leads on and off the bridge.
The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) has closed the bridge to commercial traffic temporarily, diverting trucks to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont. instead. CBSA is reporting wait times in excess of four hours to make the short trip across to Port Huron, Mich.

How blocking the Ambassador Bridge shut down a quarter of U.S.-Canada trade
‘A closure of the bridge would be catastrophic for the Canadian economy’
(Financial Post) It didn’t take many protesters to shut down a major North American economic artery. The closure of one bridge straddling the U.S. and Canada exposes an alarming supply-chain vulnerability and has laid bare the grip one American family has over an effective monopoly.
There’s literally no bigger bridge for trade between the two neighbours. Built in 1929, the art-deco inspired structure carries on its slender steel build about a quarter of the total goods going back and forth between then the U.S. and Canada. The ties with Detroit’s car industry stretch decades. The bridge carries nearly as much trade as the U.S. does with all of the U.K.
Truck blockade at U.S.-Canada border could undermine supply chains for the auto industry.
(NYT) … The bridge is a vital link for the automobile industry, which relies on a constant shuttling of parts and components across the border to keep factories humming in Ontario and the Midwestern United States.

22 January
Experts say truckers should have done more to prepare for vaccine mandate
The Liberal government announced in November that all Canadian truckers looking to cross the border from the United States would need to be vaccinated in order to avoid a 14-day quarantine, a policy that came into effect last Saturday.
Warning of potential further damage to an already crimped supply chain, the Canadian Trucking Alliance urged the federal government over the past two months to keep the industry exempt from cross-border vaccine rules, or to delay them until 2023.
Up to 26,000 of the 160,000 drivers who make regular trips across the Canada-U.S. border would likely be sidelined as a result of the vaccine mandate in both countries, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations.
‘Freedom Convoy’ leaves B.C. for Ottawa to protest trucker vaccine mandate

12 January
The US Can’t Take Canada for Granted
Washington’s recent moves contribute to political division up north and risk destabilizing a critical relationship.
By Allison Fedirka –
(Geopolitical Futures) There are no guarantees in geopolitics, but stability in the U.S.-Canadian relationship certainly comes close. However, a recent ruling by a panel under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement regarding Canada’s dairy management system is a reminder that no international relationship should be taken for granted.
In the wake of the economic devastation brought on by the pandemic, both governments are working tirelessly to reconstruct their economies and counteract growing domestic polarization. Though inwardly focused, these important efforts directly affect the bilateral relationship. In the U.S., policy is trending in a direction that has spillover effects on Canadian provinces where Ottawa has a high degree of sensitivity. This is a serious challenge for Canada, whose needs to preserve both the confederation and economic ties with the U.S. are not easily compatible.
Politico Ottawa Playbook reports OTTAWA ONBOARDING — New U.S. Ambassador to Canada DAVID COHEN has been sprinting through some notable high-profile meetings in the past week including with Eurasia Group vice chairman GERALD BUTTS, ex-Trudeau cabinet minister turned Climate and Nature Solutions principal CATHERINE MCKENNA, Brookfield Asset Management vice chair, transition investing head MARK CARNEY — a trio whom he called “Canadian climate leaders.”
Also in Cohen’s meeting minutes: Face-time with Trudeau’s former foreign affairs adviser turned UOttawa public and international affairs professor ROLAND PARIS, ex-Harper chief of staff now-UCalgary associate professor IAN BRODIE, Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s BRIAN LEE CROWLEY, and Carleton University associate professor/Westminster parliamentary system encyclopedia PHILIPPE LAGASSÉ, Conference Board of Canada CEO SUSAN BLACK, Business Council of Canada President and CEO GOLDY HYDER, Deloitte Canada’s TREVIN STRATTON and former Bank of Canada senior deputy governor CAROLYN WILKINS.

1 January
The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare
Thomas Homer-Dixon, executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University.
The U.S. is becoming increasingly ungovernable, and some experts believe it could descend into civil war. What should Canada do then?
(Globe & Mail) By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship.
We mustn’t dismiss these possibilities just because they seem ludicrous or too horrible to imagine. In 2014, the suggestion that Donald Trump would become president would also have struck nearly everyone as absurd. But today we live in a world where the absurd regularly becomes real and the horrible commonplace.

America in 2022:  from The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail

Stephen Marche: 2022 is the year America falls off a cliff. How will Canada hang on?

Michael Adams: We’re witnessing the continuing cultural divergence of Canada and the United States

David Shribman: No matter what, the Capitol Hill insurrection will be an inflection point in U.S. history

Lawrence Martin: Don’t count on an American restoration in 2022

Doug Saunders: Democracy has a marketing problem. Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau aren’t making the sale

Editorial: Joe Biden’s presidency is in big trouble – and that’s good news for Donald Trump

2021

10 December
Canada threatens U.S. with tariffs, partial suspension of USMCA over electric vehicle tax credit
Minister of International Trade Mary Ng and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland have written to top U.S. senators warning that proceeding with the electric vehicle tax credit will result in retaliatory action against the United States.
“The proposal is equivalent to a 34 per cent tariff on Canadian-assembled electric vehicles,” the letter says. “The proposal is a significant threat to the Canadian automotive industry and is a de facto abrogation of the USMCA.”
Congress is proposing sizeable tax credits worth up to $12,500 US to buyers of new electric vehicles — as long as those cars are manufactured by union workers in the U.S.
Experts agree the tax measure would deal a major blow to the Canadian automotive sector, which is trying to attract new investment as the industry transitions away from internal combustion engines.

26 November
A New Third Option for Canada-US Relations
(Policy) Depending on which leaders were in power in Ottawa and Washington, which bilateral issues lay dormant or erupted as irritants, and what global events and pressures happened to be buffeting the dynamic, Canada-US relations have seen multiple incarnations. Veteran diplomat Jeremy Kinsman looks at what we’ve lived through together, and how we should approach today’s America. Canada’s Bilateral Relationship Status Update: From ‘Sibling’ to ‘Neighbour’
Lisa Van Dusen
(Policy)The past two decades have seen an evolution in Canada’s most important relationship. The clichés about our neurotic obsession with America as the swaggering older sibling have receded amid Canada’s confidence about its place in a globalized world. And, as longtime Washington columnist Lisa Van Dusen writes, after the reality-show nightmare of his predecessor, Joe Biden has been a sanctuary of sanity

19 November
Trudeau’s U.S. visit delivers wake-up call about new North American reality
Americans see trouble ahead — and see protectionism as a solution
Alexander Panetta
(CBC Analysis) Former U.S. president Donald Trump’s protectionist impulses were no aberration: this era is vastly different from the one that produced the 1965 Auto Pact and spurred decades of Canada-U.S. economic integration.
Our challenge now involves living beside a worried superpower that’s distracted by generational challenges in which Canada is at best a bit player.
At a GM plant in Detroit, Biden clearly articulated the goal of his tax-credit plan for electric vehicles: “To buy American-made, union-made, clean vehicles.”
It’s now China, China, China
But the president said something else in that speech that reveals an aspect of the American psyche that pervades everything else at this particular moment.
Biden called this an inflection point in history, comparing the globe to a chessboard where all the old pieces are moving around; he predicted future generations will ask a question about our time: Did the United States compete with China?
That fear of losing pervades nearly everything in Washington — lost economic power, lost manufacturing capacity, lost military supremacy.
Even in a week where the United States hosted its two closest neighbours and biggest customers for a so-called Three Amigos summit, North America was the second-biggest international story here.
A virtual call between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping not only drew far more media coverage, but infinitely more curiosity from the American public.

17-18 November
After talks in D.C., Trudeau says he’s still concerned about threats to Canada’s auto sector
Experts say U.S. tax credit for American-made electric vehicles would devastate Canadian car production
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he pressed his U.S. counterpart to drop a provision of the pending $1.9-trillion social infrastructure bill which has the potential to devastate the Canadian auto sector.
At issue is a clause buried in the Build Back Better Act, President Joe Biden’s plan to inject hundreds of billions of dollars into social programs and climate initiatives to help juice the country’s COVID-19 recovery.
To spur the fledgling electric vehicle (EV) industry, the Democratic-controlled Congress is proposing sizeable tax credits worth up to $12,500 US to buyers of new electric vehicles — as long as those cars are manufactured by union workers in the U.S.
Biden was non-committal when asked if his administration would exempt Canada from such a tax plan, given that the North American auto industry is so deeply intertwined.
“We’re going to talk about that. It hasn’t even passed yet through the House … and we don’t know what will happen in the Senate. There’s a lot of complicating factors,” he said. The bill was expected to pass, with the tax credit intact, late Thursday.
At Summit, U.S., Canada and Mexico Avoid Thorny Questions
The meeting let North American leaders present a united front without going into detail on deeper issues, including trade disputes or migration.
“This is one of the easiest relationships that we have,” Mr. Biden said during a meeting with Mr. Trudeau, glossing over Canada’s complaints that the president’s buy-American policies on goods like electric vehicles have disrupted commerce between the two countries

At long last, the Three Amigos meet
(Politico) The CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, SCOTTY GREENWOOD, calls it a “happy coincidence” that she was able to gather a high-powered room of cross-border corporate and government luminaries [for the CABC’s annual State of the Relationship gala] on the eve of the first North American Leaders Summit in five years.
Trudeau ended his evening at the Hay-Adams, but he had himself a day. After his plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday morning, Trudeau headed to a panel at the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, a think tank that indulges Canada’s desire for a piece of the discourse in the capital.
The PM brought key cabmins: Deputy PM CHRYSTIA FREELAND, Trade Minister MARY NG and Public Safety Minister MARCO MENDICINO.
Next up was a trip to Capitol Hill. Trudeau brought Freeland, [Canadian ambassador Kirsten] Hillman and Ng into a meeting at the walnut-paneled Rayburn Room with House Speaker NANCY PELOSI, minority leader KEVIN MCCARTHY and a bipartisan gang of congresspeople.

14 November
The Three Amigos: Getting North America in Gear Again
Colin Robertson
(Policy) Trudeau will pick up with Biden where our new foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, left off during her meeting last week with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. They discussed the geo-strategic issues – climate, COVID, China, the upcoming democracy summit, Afghanistan, Haiti – as well as the Enbridge pipelines 5 and 3 and the protectionist measures in the administration’s “Build Back Better” and infrastructure legislation.
The Joly-Blinken meeting was important on several counts: it affirmed that she will be the lead minister on US relations (it had gotten confused when Chrystia Freeland retained oversight after leaving Foreign Affairs). It also delegated discussion of the ‘irritants’ to the ministerial level (and with the impending arrival of US Ambassador David Cohen, the quiet diplomacy of our two ambassadors can resume). There has been an unfortunate tendency to want to push every problem to the prime minister’s discussions with the president. It baffles the Americans, who think that when G7 leaders meet the president, the top table should not be dealing with what Condi Rice called the ‘condominium issues’.

10 November
Biden to host Canadian, Mexican leaders at first Three Amigos summit since 2016
(CTV) High on that list will be a proposed tax credit for American-made electric vehicles, part of the Biden administration’s ambitious economic and social spending package known as the Build Back Better Act.
Critics say the credit, worth as much as US$12,500 to new-car buyers in the U.S., would give an unfair advantage to Big Three automakers and undermine the highly integrated auto manufacturing process that exists between the two countries.
That complaint dovetails with Canada’s broader concerns about Biden’s forceful Buy American rhetoric, which includes a more stringent vetting process for foreign contractors and suppliers looking to capitalize on a generational effort to overhaul U.S. infrastructure.
Pipelines, too, remain a point of contention: cancelling the Keystone XL expansion was part of Biden’s Day 1 agenda, and the White House has been dragged into a dispute between Michigan and Enbridge Inc. over a planned upgrade to the cross-border Line 5 pipeline.
The two countries are also bracing for a showdown on long-standing continental irritants like softwood lumber and dairy imports. The U.S. complaint about Canada’s rules for importing American-made milk products is the first significant trade dispute since the advent of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement.
Canada is also anxious to play a vital strategic role in supplying critical minerals and rare-earth elements to make the batteries and electronic components so essential to the rapidly expanding North American electric vehicle market.

8 November
What the U.S.-Canada border looks like on day land crossings reopen
(CTV) Travellers heading into the United States at major land border crossings experienced wait times of up to three hours in some areas on the first day in 20 months that fully vaccinated Canadians were allowed to cross for non-essential visits.
[Those] heading into the U.S. at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle crossing between Quebec and New York were experiencing delays of up to 180 minutes at one point with six lanes open, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) and the Canadian government site for Canada to U.S. border wait times.

3 November
Secretary Blinken’s Call with Former Canadian Foreign Minister Garneau
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with former Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau today. Secretary Blinken congratulated Foreign Minister Garneau on his successful tenure as Foreign Minister and expressed his sincere appreciation for his partnership and ardent support of the U.S.-Canada relationship. Secretary Blinken noted the former Foreign Minister’s dedication and leadership on bilateral, regional, and global priorities, and the shared successes in developing the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, achieving the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations, and strengthening the U.S.-Canada relationship.
‘I wanted to make sure the Americans were first’: Mélanie Joly makes her first official call as foreign minister
Susan Delacourt
Canada’s new Global Affairs minister, Mélanie Joly, has held her first official call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, kicking off a conversation she expects to consume a large amount of her time in the new job.
The two talked by phone on Wednesday. According to a U.S. State Department release, Blinken offered congratulations to Joly and hopes for continuing talks on the “close partnership” between their two countries. The secretary of state also spoke to Joly’s predecessor, Marc Garneau, to thank him for the service abruptly ended in last week’s cabinet shuffle.
Champagne in U.S. to talk unblocking supply chain, and push rare-earth minerals
Federal cabinet minister Francois-Philippe Champagne starts two days of meetings in Washington today with the goal of unblocking North America’s supply chain.
Champagne is the federal innovation, science and industry minister, a portfolio he describes as being at the core of building back Canada’s post-COVID-19 pandemic economy.
Champagne says he will be pushing Canada’s largely untapped rare-earth mining sector, which would allow the U.S. to be less reliant on China, the world’s leading supplier of those minerals.
The pandemic-induced bottlenecks have created shortages of semiconductors and rare-earth minerals needed to power everything from computers and cellphones to electric vehicles.
Champagne’s visit followed the talks that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden and others held at last week’s G20 summit in Rome on easing the supply chain crunch that has clogged U.S. ports.
Champagne says a “regional” supply chain focus is required to make the North American continent more self-reliant and less vulnerable to offshore forces.

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