THE TRUMP ERA
WOULD CANADA BUILD A WALL AND HAVE AMERICA PAY FOR IT?
BY Angelo Fernando
Someone will have to rewrite the rules of diplomacy now that President-elect Donald Trump is striding around the White House with President Vladimir Putin on his speed dial. In case you did not hear this (and I am not making it up), on the night of the election, with four electoral votes needed for Trump to clinch the presidency, the website of Canada’s immigration authority crashed.
And it wasn’t the Russians. It was the Americans.
The Canadians must have been restless, wondering what to do with the influx of Americans who claimed they’d flee the US. Should they issue temporary visas or force them to take a crash course in the metric system? More importantly, should they build a wall and make America pay for it? Or what if the refugees began asking that the light switches be reversed?
Apparently the Australians are not worried one bit since they drive on the right side of the road. The most valid reason for a Canadian wall would be to keep out those who spell ‘colour’ and ‘valour’ without the letter ‘u.’
Back at home, the Secret Service is probably fretting over how to handle serious matters of national security such as what font size to use on the body of Air Force One when the time comes to emblazon it with the Trump logo.
Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives – the place that fed the ‘Never Trump’ movement – House Speaker Paul Ryan is probably taking online classes in Russian so as to be able to have a few beers with Putin. What better way of turning down the temperature of detente than inviting the former head of the KGB to spend a night in the Lincoln Bedroom?
Let’s give it to Putin for being one of the more prescient leaders who anticipated a Trump government in the making. Give or take a few cyberattacks.
Trump could bring a swift end to the slow-moving diplomatic train wreck with Russia by granting an executive pardon to Edward Snowden. “We’re looking at diplomacy, big league diplomacy folks. It’s a beautiful thing!”
Outsiders who are watching this drama unfold may not notice this but there’s a hive of internal diplomacy – or as we politely phrase it: ‘A time of healing’ – running through the pipes in Washington D.C. An attempt is being made to replace locker-room words with the words they teach you in kindergarten.
I am not making this up but just before the election, a fellow Republican Mike Huckabee stated that “Trump may be a car wreck, but at least his car is pointed in the right direction.” I think he meant to make a complement while slowly inserting a few sharp daggers, just in case.
Some call this rude while others call it being politically incorrect. The civil war inside the Republican Party is thankfully subsiding.
For some months, no one has heard of presidential contender Bobby Jindal since he called the future leader of his party a ‘narcissist’ and an ‘egomaniacal madman.’ Maybe he slipped into Canada!
The Canadian immigration website carried a post that said the country would “extend an extra-special welcome to the ethnic, religious and other groups that President Trump has advocated deporting from the United States: Muslims, Mexicans, black people and even those who look like Muslims.”
The website teases its southern neighbours about how “once you get settled in your new country, we think you will find that Canada is not the backwoods place Americans sometimes make it out to be.”
It speaks of its “many modern conveniences like paint and milk! We are so friendly we barely need locks on our doors. The locks are mainly to prevent our neighbours from coming over and doing chores for us overnight.” This reminds me of those lines from a Robert Frost poem that read: “Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know. What I was walling in or walling out.”
Not to be outdone by Canada, consider what a Swedish advertising agency was up to before the US presidential election?
The agency Round and Round began luring ad professionals seeking greener pastures in Stockholm.
It announced that “as a Stockholm-based agency with international clients, we are currently looking for native English-speaking creatives. So we thought, ‘hey, why not give some of those American advertising people a break?’ You are after all pretty talented.” The website it set up was called ‘The Great Trump Escape’ (at thegreattrumpescape.com).
As someone who used to be in advertising, shops at IKEA and has an old ABBA album somewhere in the house, I must admit that the idea is tempting. But then again, I still have that habit of inserting the letter ‘u’ in words like ‘color’ so I’ll hold my breath for now… and weigh my options.