In dealing with the US: ‘Be Blunt and Direct’

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excerpted Excerpted from Canadian Prss:  ‘Buy Canadian energy, Sask. premier urges U.S’  July 16, 2012.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has made a blunt appeal to the United States to buy Canadian energy, which he says is as clean as that from many American sources.

Wall delivered the keynote address Monday at the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, a bi-national working group of state and provincial officials, business leaders and academics….

Wall called on Americans to curb their “protectionist instincts” and said recent trade headaches have both Canada and Saskatchewan “looking at all options” on the trade front.

At the four-day conference, officials will search for ways to speed up the Canada-US border, reinforce energy and food security, and improve livestock health.

Former Canadian diplomat and bilateral relations expert Colin Robertson said Wall’s blunt tone is often what is needed to get through to the Americans.

“Its good for them to be reminded in direct terms, because that’s how Americans talk to one another — it’s much more direct,” he said.

Top trading partner in 37 states

Americans must constantly be reminded, Robertson said, that some eight million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada, and that Canada is the number one trading partner for 37 states.

“He reminded Americans that they matter to us, but we also matter a lot to them,” he said. “That’s a message Americans need to hear because there’s not always that appreciation.”

At the this year’s meeting, officials will search for ways to speed up movement on the Canada-U.S. border, reinforce energy and food security and improve livestock health.

Conservative MP Rob Merrifield, a member of the Canada-US Interparliamentary Group, said problems along the border cost Canada between $16 billion and $48 billion a year — the equivalent of one to three per cent of Canada’s GDP.