Deadline Now: Canadian Consul General Roy Norton
Friday, May 20, 2011
As Consul General of Canada at Detroit, Roy B. Norton represents Canada in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, advocating Canadian interests in trade, investments, the environment, culture and academic relations.
On the web: www.candainternational.gc.ca/detroit
Here are host Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:
For the United States, there isn’t a single more important international relationship than the one we have with Canada.
Economically, that’s especially true. Two-way trade between Michigan and Canada amounted to 67 billion dollars and is responsible for two-hundred and thirty-seven thousand jobs. Canada trade also accounts for many jobs and dollars in Ohio, too.
But for some reason, the United States seems to have a hard time realizing this – and sometimes showing enough respect for Canada’s sovereignty. History is full of anecdotes of painful and embarrassing slights displayed by American presidents towards Canada and its political leaders. Our politicians also have a long tradition of telling stories about Canada which aren’t exactly true.
You still occasionally see it said that some of the September 11 terrorists came into this country through Canada, and last year, during the congressional debate over the healthcare bill, we were treated to a barrage of stories and allegations about Canada’s national health service that were largely false.
That doesn’t mean I am saying that everything in Canada always works perfectly, or that they are always right in their trade disputes with us. But you can be totally opposed to Canada’s position on softwood lumber and still recognize that while we are sovereign nations, our security and economic prosperity are completely linked and intertwined.
Canada, which is even more dependent on us than we on them, is more aware of that. They also know that if anything were to happen to the ancient Ambassador Bridge, Michigan, Ontario and Ohio would be flirting with region-wide economic disaster.
That’s why Canada is willing to cover Michigan’s share of the costs. The need for a new bridge couldn’t be more clear.
Except that, is, to those who may have been confused by the torrent of propaganda from the current owner of the Ambassador Bridge, who wants to preserve his monopoly – and who has been a major contributor to many Michigan politicians.
Well, there’s nothing wrong with private enterprise or protecting one’s turf, except when the public good is at stake. If there is anything more certain than the need for a new international bridge, it is that when Canada does well, the United States does well.
And when it comes to the fruits of international trade, that’s even more true for Michigan and Ohio than most places.