An instant industry has developed in Canada about how to adjust to a Trump presidency, as if the nature of the United States has metamorphosed instantly and unrecognizably. Almost all of this concern is unnecessary. Donald Trump has never expressed any grievances against Canada, and his limited experiences here, from skiing in the Laurentians to putting his name on a few buildings for a good fee, (which some local idiots have threatened to take down and have made the subject of demonstrations), have been agreeable. Canada actually runs a modest trade deficit with the United States, and Trump has made it clear that his objections to North American Free Trade are to the large trade deficit with Mexico, not to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that preceded it by some years. Approximately nine million Americans are substantially dependent on trade with Canada. This has been a constant of over two centuries — President Jefferson had to declare all New England in a state of insurrection when he embargoed trade with Britain and Canada. The president-elect does not construe the post he has won as a licence to inconvenience and financially imperil his countrymen, or to harass and irritate the country with which, on balance, the United States has been friendlier than any other, these 150 years.
The most vacuous of these confected states of agitation are those based on analysis of the personality of the president-elect, as if he were an extra-terrestrial monster whose conduct was unlikely to have any connection to the rational self-interest of the United States. Some of the explanation for this concern is fairly explicable: Trump is that type of American who puts his views forcefully and speaks plainly, though he is very courteous in person and almost never coarse. He has been elected by 65 million Americans who were disgusted at the inability of the outgoing president and his party’s candidate this year to utter the words “Islamic terrorism” or “Islamic extremism,” and the current president’s reference to the massacre of innocents in San Bernardino, California by Jihadists as “workplace violence.” His is essentially the charm of John Wayne, including the implicit possession of a hard power option for the resolution of disputes, made more worrisome to some because what we are about to watch in Washington is not a film. But nor will it be the frothings and thrashings about of a madman.