Stéphane Lessard, Consul General of Canada who covers a five-state area including Kansas, made his way around eastern and central Kansas this week speaking with local leaders, university administrators and editorial boards.
Meetings such as these are normally goodwill tours, reinforcing the Denver office’s mission.
Then there are times when the United States imposes $13 billion in steel and aluminum tariffs on one of its most trusted allies and trade partners; Canada counters with a similar amount of tariffs and asks why the U.S. can justify its tariffs as a national security issue; and it’s revealed that the American president asked the Canadian prime minister, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”
Then the meetings become much newsier.
The impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs on Canada have an effect on Kansas. The state has enjoyed a $1 billion surplus in trade with Canada, with almost $900 million in aircraft exports annually.
Hardest-hit Kansas exports by the retaliatory Canadian tariffs would be aluminum ($16.6 million), household goods ($12.3 billion) and motorboats ($11.1 million). In all, new tariffs would total more than $100 million.
Lessard is hopeful that President Trump’s tariffs are eased before a trade war can begin. Most Kansans involved in aviation or agriculture should agree.
The G7 summit begins Friday near Montreal, and Trump will feel greatly outnumbered with united leaders from Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan. The summit will concentrate on issues that should bring all nations together — gender equality, a more secure world — but the other six presidents and prime ministers will take the opportunity to lobby Trump on softening his overly tough tariff stance.