There are times when I have to admit that I become almost speechless or dumbfounded at the level of short sighted nationalism that raises its ugly head in our news, especially with regard to the procurement of medical equipment and supplies to fight the coronavirus, that all countries of the world are currently at war with. Wars are seldom, if ever, won by promoting nationalism. It’s when we collectively come together and unite with one another against a common enemy that victories are won.
It’s not that I don’t understand the necessity to protect and provide for one’s own countrymen. I get it. I am aware that the EU has also enacted restrictions of sales outside of the EU.
But all countries are not equal.
Canada and the United States are neighbours and we have come to one another’s aid many times in the past. In peace and in war, Canada has consistently been there to lend a hand and shed the blood of our own countrymen to stand by our American allies and vice versa. Nobody can question that.
Remember 9/11 when hundreds (224) of American planes landed on Canadian soil and thousands (over 33,000) of Americans, a good number of which were housed and fed by Canadians? Do you have any idea of how many Canadian nurses (1500 to 2000) there are who currently live in Canada, yet cross the American/Canadian border on a daily basis, to work in American hospitals and other health care facilities? Or how about the numerous agreements that have been hammered out over a good number of decades between our two countries to ensure the flow of required goods that are vital to the national security of both countries and the welfare of all of our citizens?
And then we have the President of the United States recently indicating that an American company, 3M, who produces medical supplies that are vital to both of our countries, should no longer export medical supplies to the Canadian Government and other Canadian clients due to the necessity of meeting American priorities. Ironically, 3M uses a unique wood pulp to produce some of these medical supplies that is made only by a Canadian company.
A pulp mill on Vancouver Island that supplies American producers with materials to make surgical masks and other medical supplies has been dragged into a trade dispute between Canada and the United States, after President Donald Trump signed an order to restrict exports of personal protective equipment needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harmac Pacific, whose facility is located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, produces a unique type of pulp that is used by U.S. manufacturers to make products that include paper gowns, surgical masks and caps, some of which are then shipped to Canada. Harmac Pacific says one of those customers, recently doubled its order, prompting the facility to shift its production to focus on pulp for medical-grade paper.
I’m not a fan of President Trump, I’ve stated that before and there have been a couple of instances where I have been taken to task by some American readers who disagreed with my opinion. Understood, normally I try to avoid commenting on American politics. But in this instance, the order executed by President Trump involves the country that I live in.
It would appear, from my perspective, that when push comes to shove, past alliances, agreements and acts of compassion and accommodation mean very little, if anything, between Canada and the United States, when taken into account by President Trump.
And you may think that I am not holding back my thoughts and feelings but you would be wrong.