Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Canada Gets Mentioned! Woot?

After every State of the Union address and similar speeches, Canadians would ask me why Canada didn't get mentioned.  My standard answer: be glad as the speech is mostly about American problems and Canada is not a problem.   Trump's first speech to Congress has two mentions of Canada, so woot?  Yes and no.

First, it looks like the clever play to elevate Ivanka continues to work:
With the help of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have formed a Council with our neighbors in Canada to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams.
The inclusion of Ivanka Trump in a businesswomen's summit just as her brand was getting hit hard was a smart move.  Seems like Donald and his speechwriters remember it, and think it important enough to mention.  I guess anything to make people forget Trump's thorough and deep misogyny.  But any way you slice it, good for Canada to get such a positive mention.

Second, Canada is put into the position of looking more restrictive on immigration than the US:
Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others --- have a merit-based immigration system. It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America's taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.
Of course, Trump is lying about how immigration works in the US and, well, in Canada, as both countries have merit based and not so merit based immigration.  Oh, and Canada is continuing to let in refugees.  The key here is that this passage is part of a larger xenophobic move to demonize immigrants (VOICE!?!) and restrict immigration.  So, don't be fooled into thinking that the US system will become like Canada's.  So, this mention of Canada is far more insidious, and, I would hope, most Canadians would not want their country to be used like this.

So, 1 for 2?  Is that a good batting average?  To be sure, whether Canada gets mentioned or not, the US is going to do some awful things on the immigration front: VOICE is the most Nazi thing yet--listing the crimes of immigrants against citizens; ICE is rounding up illegal immigrants with enthusiasm, including a woman who was in court because she was pursuing a domestic violence case; holding others for hours, including the handcuffing of five year olds, and on and on.  Does Canada being used as cover on this outweigh the political capital gained by including Ivanka in some pics with PMJT?

I don't know.  But I do think my usual caution stands: being left out of a State of the Union (or its ilk) is probably not a bad thing.

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