Tomorrow President Barack Obama will travel and make the traditional first foreign trip of American Presidents as he visits our “Neighbor to the North” – Canada and its leader Prime Minister Stephan Harper. Heritage Scholars James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, Ph. D explain why this trip is so vital for continuing America’s partnership on a number of crucial issues.
Canada is one of America’s closest friends, as “reflected in the staggering volume of bilateral trade—the equivalent of $1.5 billion a day in goods—as well as in people-to-people contact. About 300,000 people cross the shared border every day.” We are connected by everything from shared democratic values to the everyday matters like integrated auto manufacturing and professional sports teams. Will the new U.S. leader seek to impose an anti-trade, environmentally extreme agenda in line with his campaign promises? Or will he embrace Canada as a partner in a renewed effort to continue the historic policies of economic and entrepreneurial freedom that has produced record prosperity for both countries?
A lot of discussion will get packed into this short one-day trip. Issues range from trade to military commitments in Afghanistan. Roberts and Walser suggest to the President and Canadian Prime Minister a number of ideas to handle these pressing matters.
- Obama should pledge to seek immediate removal of protectionist “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus law and commit to further measures to deepen and strengthen NAFTA.
- Obama and Harper should commit both countries to seeking private sector restructuring of the U.S. and Canadian auto industries.
- Obama and Harper should commit to sensible, private-sector-led development of the vast oil sand deposits in Alberta.
- Obama should use the opportunity to cement a viable and sustainable security partnership with the Canadian government in Afghanistan, in the Arctic, and elsewhere.