Canada will respond forcefully to the U.S. aluminum tariffs that took effect Sunday, says the country’s ambassador to the United States, echoing the sentiment shared by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

“I think my job here in the U.S. is to make sure that our allies have all the facts, that the administration has all the facts, and that we respond forcefully to this inappropriate and unfair action,” Kirsten Hillman, who was permanently appointed to the role in March, told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman in an interview Monday.

The Trump administration went ahead with 10-per-cent tariffs on Canadian aluminum on Sunday despite warnings – including from within the U.S. aluminum industry – that the measures would backfire.

The American Primary Aluminum Association – made up of Century Aluminum Company and Magnitude 7 Metals, llc – lobbied the White House to restore the tariffs and earlier this month, with company officials subsequently thanking Trump for listening. Hillman said the pressure from two companies fuelled the Trump administration's decision to reimpose the tariffs.

She added that the Canadian government is currently working on determining which products will be subject to planned dollar-for-dollar countermeasures. Those countermeasures are expected to be implemented in September when consultations end.

Still, despite calling the U.S. tariffs “regrettable and hurtful to Americans,” Hillman said the overall Canada-U.S. relationship is based on thousands of interactions that go beyond economic and trade issues – and that it remains strong.  

“What I’ve seen here over the past several months as we’ve been dealing with COVID is a very strong cooperation, not just with the administration … but with the White House in particular,” she said. “So the relationship is strong. And it’s built on many, many, many different aspects and many different conversations every single day.”

“But part of a strong relationship is being able to stand up and defend yourself and state your position clearly when you don’t agree – and we don’t agree with these tariffs.”