Members of Trump administration have expressed support for Canadian troops in wake of Navarro remarks: envoy

Canada’s ambassador to the United States says she is not worried about the relationship with our neighbours to the south despite ongoing tensions between the two countries.

With U.S. President Donald Trump reimposing aluminum tariffs on Canadian imports and his trade adviser Peter Navarro’s recent disparaging remarks about Canada’s military, Kirsten Hillman was asked if she’s afraid the relationship is in trouble. 

“I’m not. I’m not, you know. I’ve spent most of my career sitting across the table from Americans and what I know is this — it’s a deep and broad relationship,” Hillman told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics Friday.

“We’re very, very deeply integrated neighbours in many, many levels. And so that’s what our relationship is based on. It’s based on all of these thousands of interactions that happen every day through all aspects of our society.”

Early last month, the U.S. reimposed a 10 per cent tariff on Canadian aluminum imports. The United States slapped import tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in 2018 before removing them last year as part of a broad free trade deal now in force.

American business groups largely oppose Trump’s plan since it will raise the cost of the metal for U.S. manufacturers — who will have few options to paying the tariff and importing the metal anyway because the U.S. does not produce enough aluminum to satisfy domestic demand.

Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro was quoted in a recent book by CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto questioning Canada’s decision to send soldiers to Afghanistan.

In the book — The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World — Navarro is reported to have said Canada’s decade-long mission to Afghanistan, which cost the lives of 158 Canadian soldiers, was motivated more by a desire to curry favour with the U.S. than to support the global fight against terrorism.

Hillman said that after the remarks became public, people working in the White House reached out to her to tell her that Navarro’s opinion was not shared by the rest of the administration.

“My perspective of respect and admiration for our armed forces is one that’s been expressed to me by Americans here in Washington, in the administration, in Congress, but also across the country by many Americans,” she said.

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Johny Watshon

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