Canadian publications and citizens groups are calling for a boycott of US goods in response to President Trump and members of his administration’s attacks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
But as Reuters reports, a consumer boycott of the US is much easier said than done. Still, the boycott push has gained momentum since Canada’s Parliament on Monday condemned Trump for his treatment of Trudeau. Trudeau himself has “kept a low profile” since the end of the G-7 summit, which Trudeau hosted in Quebec over the weekend. Publications like the Toronto Star have suggested a campaign of “empty hotel rooms and campsites.”
All kinds of targets have been suggested in opinion columns and postings on social media, from companies that sell goods associated with Trump or his family to a broader ban on U.S. vacations. The suggestions come not only in response to the attacks on Trudeau by Trump and his aides, but to the threat of a trade war that could hurt Canada’s economy and sideswipe jobs.
“So, if this president insists on punching you in the nose and eating your lunch, why would you continue to pretend he’s still a great neighbor and go over to his place to spend your time and money?” implored an opinion piece in the Toronto Star.
As Reuters reminds us, Canada is the biggest market for US goods. The country imports a total of $90 billion during the first four months of this year alone. For 35 US states, Canada is the top export market. As a whole, Canada is the destination for 18.3% of US exports – putting it ahead of China and Mexico.
When it comes to tourism, Canadians also comprise a significant proportion of visitors to the US. Hundreds of thousands of Canadian retirees winter in the sun belt – a region that stretches across the southeastern and southwestern US. But as much as Canadians love to boast about their beef, beer and maple syrup, it’s difficult to imagine a countrywide boycott of Pepi, Coca-Cola and other iconic US brands (how about the iPhone? Nike sneakers? Or Starbucks?) ever getting off the ground. Why? Because, at the end of the day, Canadians love US brands.
“To suggest Canadians are going to stop drinking Coke and Pepsi is a bit of a stretch, given we are so enmeshed in U.S. consumer culture. A bottom line impact is not likely to occur,” said pollster Nik Nanos.
“That said, this is going to be a massive headache for U.S. companies doing business in Canada, both from a public relations and consumer relations perspective.”
While Trump has largely been the target of Canadians’ ire, Trump advisor Peter Navarro on Tuesday apologized for unleashing “verbal hell” on Trudeau during a Fox News interview.
“I own that,” Navarro said during an appearance at The Wall Street Journal’s CFO conference.