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Washington’s War on Canada’s Health Plan
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Republicans and Democrats are befuddled by President Trump’s attacks on Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau; has repudiation of NAFTA; the bilateral agreement with Mexico; tariffs, trade quotas and threats of trade constraints of billions more to come.

Many are the experts, political leaders and media commentators who have offered a variety of explanations. The most frequent explanation is that the White House is pursuing a nationalist – protectionist policy to weaken and dominate Canada and to increase the US competitive position. The problem with that argument is that for the better part of a century Canada has followed US imperialism in global and regional wars and interventions on four continents – even where Ottawa has paid a high military, financial, political and human cost. Canada has always been considered a bulwark of the US led NATO alliance, a reliable trading partner and staunch defender of cross border controls.

Trump critics attribute his hostility to his unruly, impulsive and unstable temperament which blocks him from an understanding the ongoing historical legacy. Paramount long-term links are sacrificed for short-term economic gains according to some academics.

Most senior diplomats ,accustomed to friendly negotiations, have privately expressed objections to Trump’s ultimatums and his effort to brow- beat Canada into submission, believing that a few genial tweaks over a re-packaged NAFTA would secure Canadian compliance and submission.

Yet Trump refuses to accept Canada’s partial submission to a modified NAFTA. Apparently, Trump is after long-term, large scale changes which will have a major political, economic and social impact on the US competitive position in the world economy.

Trump’s War Against Canada’s National Health and Education Programs

The US economic elite and workers spend hundreds of billions of dollars in a failed private health system. Canada’s capitulation to Trump’s conditions for a bilateral trade agreement will eventually shift the burden of healthcare from a low cost universal public program to the high cost exclusionary private sector — reducing the competitiveness of Canada’s economy especially its exports.

Trump is neither a demagogue nor an irrational nationalist. He has succeeded in changing Mexico’s trade terms in favor of the US economy, increased the share of US exports and retained a dominant role in setting the terms for re-negotiating agreements. Trump aims for the same result with Canada.

He sizes up Trudeau as an easy mark-‘very dishonest and weak’. The Saudi Arabian reprisals over a human rights issue caused Trudeau to retract. Trump’s on and off the record remarks are intended to humiliate Trudeau and force him to plea for mercy. Trump’s disparaging remarks of Prime Minister Trudeau ,presiding at the 2018 G-7 meeting in Quebec Canada—accusing Canada of ‘robbing the [US] piggy bank’- and his unilateral slapping of tariffs– went uncontested.


Trump’s aggressive posture is directed at eliminating those features of Canadian society and economy which are appealing for US working families. Trump’s strategy is to lower Canada’s competitiveness not raise US living standards. US prescription drugs are 60% higher than Canada; the US private health bureaucracy costs the economy five times more than Canada’s public health administration.


Trump’s trade rules are intended to pressure Canada to lose competitiveness and reduce its attractiveness to the US public. If he succeeds Trump will reduce pressure from the ‘single payer’ majority and gain support from US exporters to Canada.

In sum, from a US capitalist perspective, Trump is using his political bullying to increase profits and exports markets.

The vast majority of Canadians back their public administered and financed health system. They will resist any effort to reduce it via incremented ‘rulings’ by bilateral US-Mexican-Canadian bodies. They will realize that the deck is loaded in Trump’s favor. If Canada is to retain what remains of its welfare state it will have to break with its dependence on Washington – including its support for overseas wars, trade sanctions and Washington’s drive for world domination. A new political leadership in the fashion of Tommy Douglas will need to replace Justin Trudeau. The question is where will it come from?

• Category: Economics • Tags: Canada, Health care 
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  1. I must have missed something in your article: where did you show connect up Trump’s negotiating style and negotiations with Canadian Healthcare? Trump has stated publicly numerous times that US pharm prices are too high. Why would you make up nonsense like you have in this article? It doesn’t make sense and you’ve shown no proof at all. Do you have Trump Derangemnt Syndrome? Or are you like the many zombies that you see on the TV all the time where Subject A says something and the “analyist” says: well Subject A said it is a sunny day, but what he really meant was that whites are the superior race.

    As it stands now, you’re just making shit up for no reason. Canadian healthcare is a matter of settled law. It’s not up to Trudeau no matter how much of a simp and a cuck he is, he can’t mess with the healthcare. And why would he?

    Trump wants better dairy prices. Try to stick with the facts.

  2. Mr. Petras is correct when he states that, “Canada has followed US imperialism in global and regional wars and interventions on four continents – even where Ottawa has paid a high military, financial, political and human cost.” But neither the Conservatives nor the New Democrats have a leader charismatic and powerful enough to withstand the political pressure from Trump. Only Trudeau has the popular support and charisma, as well as his father’s legacy of being a maverick who faced off American bullying and survived.

  3. Albertde says:

    Health Care in Canada is provincially funded. At the start in 1957, the Federal government promised to provide 50% of the funds for Medicare but it never has. So, not even the Federal Conservative party could eliminate Medicare even if they wanted to, because Medicare is a provincial responsibility and the Federal government provides only a small fraction of the funds required.

    Remember, unlike the US states, which are largely weak, ineffectual governments unable to start up and administer a medicare system, the Canadian provinces, especially Quebec, retain enormous power within the Canadian Confederation.

    The same goes for Supply Management. There are provincial boards involved and eliminating Supply Management would require the endorsement of the provinces, which is not going to happen. Quebec for one would never allow it.

    • Replies: @restless94110
  4. When you know almost nothing about something, it’s better not to talk or write about it.

  5. Anonymous[101] • Disclaimer says:

    Trump would like to see US automakers in Canada move back to the US. Canada has some big advantages….the Canadian dollar is lower than the US dollar, and automakers save money because they don’t have to pay employee healthcare care costs.

    Slapping the threatened 25% tariff on cars heading to the US market would eliminate much of this Canadian advantage. The milk thing is an issue, but I don’t think it’s the core issue.

    • Replies: @restless94110
  6. @Jus' Sayin'...

    Well, a simple response: those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
    Mr. Petras is highly knowledgeable, with impeccable honour and integrity.

    • Replies: @restless94110
  7. @RealAmerican

    What the devil are you talking about, Willis? Who cares what Trudeau has or has not? Your comment has NOTHING to do with Trump destroying Canadian Healthcare.

    Try very hard and then try again to stay on topic?

  8. @Albertde

    So, in other words, everything I said in post 1 is true. Is there a reason you did not acknowledge that? Are you a dickhead? I sincerely do not understand: a commenter makes a point; you agree; you ignore the commenter who made the same point?

    This why the idiots win.

  9. @Jus' Sayin'...

    When you are stupid and you post shit? It’s better you not post at all. In other words, bro, what the fuck are you talking about? And by the way? It better be good.

  10. @Anonymous

    Ok, but what’s wrong with moving manufacturing back to the United States? And even though you don’t think the milk price is an issue, what’s wrong with raising tariffs until there is more commerce with milk? I don’t understand the point of your post. You are literally saying the same thing as I was: Trump wants manufacturing to return to the US.

  11. @RealAmerican

    Who is living in a glass house? And who is throwing stones? Mr. Petras is ignorant (highly), and seems to have no honour and no integrity.

    What on earth are you offering to refute Mr, Petras’ utter ineptitude and lunacy? Petras ha decided that Trump wants to destroy Canadian healthcare. That is obviously completely false. Why are you defending the lunatic, Mr Pretras?

  12. Yes, Petras’ reasoning is weak. Not that Trump wouldn’t necessarily want to do what he alleges, but it’s all conjecture. I’ll admit, however, that these multilateral trade deals tend to be schemes to allow multi-national corporations to override voters’ democratic choices. That’s why we shouldn’t join these multiparty “free trade” blocs.

  13. Oddly enough, Trump was for a universal health care plan, but I guess you forgot.

  14. “Only Trudeau has the popular support and charisma, as well as his father’s legacy of being a maverick who faced off American bullying and survived.”

    He preferred Chi-Com and Soviet bullying. Was an admirer of Mao, believed Canada should be a single party country (his party, natch), was autocratic and unilaterally declared the liberty-destroying War Measures Act.

    But yeah, the son is weak and spineless, and a dissembler, if better looking by far than the father. I have relatives who know nothing of policy, but voted for him only because of his physical beauty.

  15. Anonymous [AKA "Joe Hodgkins"] says:

    I generally support many things about Trump, but I think that he’s way off base bullying Canada just because he hates the prime minister. Canada and the US have had good relations since the end of the war of 1812. Canada is by far the best friend of the US and Trump should realize this and cut Canada some slack. The fact that Canada has supply management in dairy and socialized medicine should be meaningless to the US as it has almost zero impact on the US economy. Canada’s population and economy is the size of California if you want to put it in perspective. The US imports more oil, natural gas and forest products from Canada than any other country and the auto industries are dependent on each other but completely American owned. Just for the record, about 75% of the Canadian economy is American owned so I really don’t think Trump has any idea how much control the US has over Canada already.

  16. Anonymous [AKA "Timbo33"] says:

    This is one of the most idiotic commentaries ever written up and published! Kanada has been relying on American subsidization of drug R&D for decades now by their policy of placing Price Controls on drugs. We need to enact a law that firmly state that all drug pricing must be unitary and no preferential treatment should be bestowed on socialist countries like Kanada. Further – I think the reality (until recently) has been that the U.S. has had to follow the awful kanada and britain into two useless wars (WW1 and WW2) that were instigated by the financiers and “royal” families of Europe and caused a great deal of death, destruction and impoverishment for all countries involved. We (the U.S.) should never have gotten involved in these two wars.

  17. Canadians, by and large, like their health care system and pay for it out of taxes.

    Americans, by and large like their health care system and believe it is the best in the world. Large manufacturing employers pay part of the premiums for their employees health care, which is part of the pay package, but employees pay for most of their own health care via premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

    The employers take back most of the health care premiums by giving their employees in the US less paid vacation time and maternity leave than in most other developed countries.

    Drug companies spend a lot more on advertising and promotions than on drug development, and a lot of drug development is done by much smaller startup companies funded by venture capital that are then acquired by the majors if they hit paydirt in the form of a viable and marketable new drug.

  18. Stogumber says:

    Petras can hardly believe that everything is cheaper only because it is “universal” and “public”. Otherwise the Soviet Union would have been the economical frontrunner of the world.

    So, Petras needs to explain in what way and why exactly the Candian system is better.

    As for Trump: does the story really begin with Trump attacking Trudeau and not with Trudeau attacking Trump?

  19. @RealAmerican

    Actually, their part-time ski instructor and drama teacher, otherwise known as the Prime Minister of Canada, is in deep “merde.” His obsession with LGBT rights through the use of his ridiculous Bill C-16 and Ontario (then) Liberal Premier, Kathleen Wynne’s Bill 89, proved to be disastrous. The liberals were completely wiped off the map in Canada’s most populous province. Wynne led her party to the loss of official party status in the worst defeat of a governing party in Ontario history. More on Wikipedia.

    Tthe Liberals are not doing much better in Canada’s largest province, Québec. The situation is so bad, Trudeau dropped the word “diversity” with his newly merged cabinet committee. The new star on the Canadian horizon is @MaximeBernier

    Where will that go? We’ll see.

  20. Doc says:

    When FTA came along in the 1980s under prime minister Brian Mulroney he pushed it past knowing that the majority of Canadians wanted no part of it.
    When NAFTA came along the majority wanted no part of it. I sat there in Ontario and watch company after company close up and go to the southern states or Mexico.
    As the factories moved out huge companies like Walmart moved in and the downtown starting to look like a ghost town. We exported good-paying factory jobs and a lot of sovereignty, and imported low paying service jobs and misery. Of course the government will never say this out loud because they are sell outs.
    I would be quite happy if Canada walked away from it.
    Two things I particularly dislike about it are the proportionality clause and the clause which allows American companies to sue the Canadian government if they feel they are not getting the deal they wanted under NAFTA. Or to be honest if they feel they can make a few hundred million dollars from it. It is a bad deal.

  21. Doc says:

    Here is a link to what many Canadians dislike about NAFTA. They are often the same things which ordinary Americans dislike about it.

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