President Trump has finally gone too far. It’s not enough his petulant pout invades every TV news screen at all hours of the day, now — to register my opposition to his illegal tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum — I must pass up favourite American products when I grocery shop. That means carrying a magnifying glass to hunt for “Made in U.S.A.” labels.
At this time of year, blueberries and oranges, two staples in my weekly grocery cart, are imported from California or Florida. To demonstrate my objection to Trump’s tariffs, I should do without my favourite fruits until Canadian orchards begin shipping in a month or more?
Sure, I can get by without those fruits. Wouldn’t be my first time. As a prairie kid we anticipated picking fresh wild saskatoons in late June or early July. I can’t recall ever eating fresh blueberries, although we may have. Oranges we did have with regularity are no doubt grown in the U.S.
I can also adopt substitutes — B.C. strawberries instead of U.S. blueberries; mix my own salad dressing with cream, vinegar and sugar to replace a tasty U.S. coleslaw dressing I’m never without.
Many of my preferred foods are already Canadian — Aylmer ketchup and canned tomatoes, Nestle treats, Country Harvest breads and bagels baked by Weston.
To help shoppers, Maclean’s magazine published a comprehensive list of suppliers and their products, titled “Shop Like a Canadian – Food Day Canada”. The list offers the names of a great many substitute Canadian suppliers as well as explanations for unique labels such as “Dairy Farmers of Canada Quality Milk” and milk derivatives: yogurts, cheeses. They also present a variety of sources for dried beans and lentils, beers, wines, beverages, and meats especially pork. Quaker oats. Rogers sugar and syrup.
The highlight last week for me was learning every member of parliament stood steadfast behind Trudeau when he proclaimed Canada would retaliate — reluctantly but firmly — against Trump’s illegal tariffs. I cheered foreign minister Chrystia Freeland for her firm repudiation of Trump’s edict delivered calmly, no expansive arm gestures like Trump repelling a cougar, no eye rolling Mayor Giuliani style, just a quiet, solid, “Canada won’t roll over.”
Trump claims Canada’s aluminum and steel imports pose a security threat to the U.S. How? By law, only the U.S. Congress can impose tariffs. But when has the constitution constrained Trump’s impetuous whims? Or his cowering congress acted to curb his improper behaviour?
In addition to weekly avoiding U.S. produce, I must wait for the tariffs to end before ordering more L.L. Bean clothing. Fortunately, I was well stocked before Cadet Bone Spur’s latest fit of pique. I may be naively optimistic but I expect when America’s businesses feel the bite of Trump’s tariffs their combined complaints will reverse his tariffs.
Beginning June 21, India is imposing tariffs on American almonds, lentils and Harley-Davidson motorcycles as well as other goods.
My weekly purchases will exert minimal pressure on the American economy, but it appears plenty of Canadians plan to pass up bargains on the other side of the border, and others who booked expensive U.S. vacation cruises are cancelling in favour of visiting Canadian provinces and vacation sites. Cancellation of Alaskan cruises and other major travels will seriously dent states’ tourist income.
Travel is not my thing, but in this instance I wish I had booked a $6,000 ocean cruise to Italy or some other exotic place that I could cancel, just for spite.