Canadians won't sign off on new NAFTA unless tariffs are lifted: Former ambassador to U.S.
As the trade dispute between Canada and China intensifies, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States is placing the blame on the United States.
“I think [China] has always considered us a friend. Right now, we’re in the crosshairs – and we’re in the crosshairs because of our friends, the Americans,” Frank McKenna, now deputy chairman of Toronto-Dominion Bank, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday.
“They put us in this position. All we did was what we consider to be the rule of law and we’re getting ripped for this.”
McKenna’s comments come as China blocks shipments from Canadian canola companies over alleged pest concerns. Relations between the two countries are already on ice amid Canada’s detention of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.
Meng was arrested during a stopover at Vancouver International Airport in December at the request of U.S. authorities, who accuse her of defrauding banks into processing transactions that potentially violated Iran sanctions. Since Meng’s arrest, China has detained two Canadians for national security investigations and sentenced a third Canadian man to death on a drug charge.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Winnipeg Tuesday he is considering the possibility of sending a high-level delegation to China – a market that accounts for 40 per cent of Canada's exports of canola seed, oil and meal – to discuss the canola trade issue.
“You have to feel sorry for the people running our country,” McKenna told BNN Bloomberg Tuesday. “Things were going along quite blissfully – and we enjoyed wonderful relationships with both countries. And then as a result of things that are out of our control, both [the U.S. and China] have gone ballistic.”
“In the case of the United States, Trump was elected and he wants to start tariff wars with everybody and that put us right in the crosshairs,” McKenna said. “And then in the case of China, all we were doing was respecting the rule of law and we’re right in their crosshairs.”
In the wake of the diplomatic standoff, McKenna said he was concerned while travelling to China last week and has never been worried when visiting the country before. He added it should be up to the U.S. to help Canada get out of this “pickle” it put the country in.
“Accidently, we’ve got ourselves in a very bad spot with our two biggest trading partners.”