Donald Trump says he wants to bring back timber jobs to the United States; Canada gets asked to join a missile defence system, and then there is country of origin labelling. Three separate issues normally dealt with by three separate Conservative critics. But all three of these issues have one common theme: Canada’s relationship with the United States. This means that as the CPC critic for Canada-U.S. Relations, I have to be up on all of them.For those of you who don’t know me, I have been an MP for 12 years. I first represented Saskatoon-Humboldt; and now for Saskatoon-University, under the new boundaries. As an MP, I served for six years as a vice-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group. This experience is one reason I believe Rona Ambrose asked me to take on this file.
There are a lot of small subtle issues between Canada and the U.S. and it helps to have been involved on the file for a long time. How many people know Canada and the U.S. have disputed borders in the waters between our countries? People hear about trade, security, defence and foreign affairs issues in isolation, but each issue affects the other files in regards to the U.S. When the Liberals take terrorism and security issues lightly, the potential for trade disruption becomes real: Canadian jobs and businesses are put at risk. It’s my job to put the pieces together and see things not in isolation, but in totality.
Being critic for Canada-U.S. Relations definitely involves critiquing the Liberals mistakes, it also requires dealing with U.S. politicians, a task that can be both educational and interesting.
One congressman in Washington has his office full of hunting trophies: antelopes, deer, 20 or so different heads mounted in his office. Even David Anderson, or an MP like Larry Miller wouldn`t have his office decorated like that in Ottawa. The other thing I appreciate as our Party’s critic is the window I have into American politics. I remember the time I lunched with a U.S. senator, who was one of Senator Obama’s mentors when he was first elected. His very close observations about President Obama as a senator helped me understand the Obama administration better and allowed me to grasp their decision making process in regards to issues affecting Canada.
The Canada-U.S. relationship is 24 hour, 365 day a year file for Canada. Generally, Canadians only think about our relationship with our southern neighbour when something goes wrong. My job is to make sure the Conservative Caucus has a well thought out position on this vital relationship whenever it does get it in the news. It’s a responsibility which I am glad to have—and I’m proud to serve Rona and the entire Conservative caucus as the critic for Canada-U.S. Relations.
- Brad Trost