The brewing trade war between Canada and the U.S. has Canadians across the country looking for new ways to protest U.S. President Donald Trump, the man who started it all.
His recent decision to slap tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel is a direct insult to the centuries-long relationship Canada has shared with the U.S. The fact that Trump would justify the move by deeming Canada a national security threat makes it all the more outrageous.
Canadians are ready to fight back, but there's only so much they can do. Some have thought of boycotting popular American stores, but that is not the answer. Not only is it almost impossible to not buy something that somehow helps the U.S., but many Canadians are also employed by the very companies people are suggesting to cut off.
Others have started high-profile campaigns against Trump, with organizations such as Unifor encouraging its members to write letters and submit petitions to federal politicians in order to further stress the urgency of the situation. However, such method of protest still relies on additional parties that may or may not follow through.
Is there a way for Canadians to protest Trump directly?
Mark Bulgutch, a Canadian journalist, thinks he has the answer. In an opinion piece he contributed to the Toronto Star, he made the case for Canadians to avoid travelling to the States as a form of protest against Trump's actions.
"Tourism is very important to the U.S. It's a $1.5 trillion industry. It employs 5 million people directly and another 5 million people indirectly. Our federal government is doing its part to tell the White House that its tariffs are unacceptable by applying tariffs on American goods like orange juice, mattresses, and bourbon. But only ordinary Canadians can apply some pain to the tourism industry."
He has a point. If there's anything Canadians should boycott, it's trips and vacations to the U.S. Sure, sometimes travel to the States is unavoidable — there will always be business trips, important conferences and family visits that will send Canadians down south. But when it comes to vacations, they have the power to decide exactly where to spend their time and money. So why not choose to travel Canadian?
"It's summer in Canada. There's no better time to stay at home. It is no sacrifice to see your country," Bulgutch adds. "In Canada, your Canadian dollar is worth 100 cents. You don't need a passport. The person at the amusement park probably isn't packing a gun."
At the end of the day, we're Canadian. It's not really in our nature to seek revenge and get even. Most of us are too nice for that. But we aren't going to be bullied and pushed around by an administration that clearly operates to only serve itself. We must stand up for ourselves, protect Canadian interests and continue to fight the injustices that try to bring us down.
"The president is making it harder for Canadians to put food on their tables, clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads. Canada's economy will grow more slowly. Canadian jobs will be lost. Prices of some goods will go up. It's not the end of the world, but it will hurt a lot of good people."
The moral position
If the economic position isn't enough of a reason for you to avoid U.S. travel, then consider the moral position. Bulgutch wrote a separate opinion piece about this, where he discussed Trump's discriminatory move to ban certain people from the U.S. simply because of their nationalities.
Bulgutch says Canadians shouldn't 'turn a blind eye' to Trump's discrimination. To this day, the U.S. has not removed the travel bans for people from six Muslim-majority countries.
On top of this, Trump is working to get rid of thousands of Americans who have temporary legal status in the U.S., causing several people to seek asylum in Canada.
"There was a time when desperate men and women clutching all their belongings, and struggling to keep their children next to them, would be running toward the United States of America. Now they are running from the United States of America. I never thought I'd see the day," writes Bulgutch.
"So the moral case for not taking a vacation in the U.S. is stronger than ever."
Read Mark Bulgutch's full column on Toronto Star here.