President Trump’s insistence on a war of words and deeds with Canada, our neighbor to the north has created a political theater that is consuming both sides of the border. But the stakes for us in Florida might be even higher than that for much of the rest of this nation.
Florida is heavily dependent on tourism and investment from Canada. Every winter Canadians invade the state, hitting our beaches, staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants.
Canadian visitors and part-time residents are very much part of the fabric of the service-based, tourist-dependent economy a growing Florida has come to rely on more and more in the absence of meaningful economic development and the failure of GOP-driven tax schemes to attract manufacturing and industrial jobs to the state. Twenty-two years of GOP tax abatement at the state level has only led to a further dependence on tourism (and over-development) as drivers of an unsustainable long-term economy.
Trump’s rhetorical bards toward Canada cannot help Florida in any way or manner. Yet few if any Florida politicians have stood strong and tall on this when it potentially could have devastating effects on us.
On the flip side however, writers, journalists and activists on the Canadian side of the border have weighed in. Do Canadians boycott the USA? OR do they actually engage more to change/modify the behavior of our leaders?
Many journalists north of the border see Trump’s narcissism as a passing fad and reminds readers and listeners that the majority of Americans did not vote for Trump. But others feel its time to punish the US and remind us that 20 million border crossing occurred in 2017, many of which were of Canadians headed to Florida. Empty hotel rooms and sagging tourism-stimulated sales in Florida, a state that helped hand Trump the election would send a strong message some writers believe.
The level of journalism and independent critical thought among writers and broadcasters north of the border has always impressed me. My very favorite Canadian writer and provocative thinker Chrystia Freeland is now the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Trudeau Government, so I have incredible faith that Canadians and the nation’s government will do the right and proper thing.
It’s worth pondering for Floridians of all stripes what might happen if Trump’s war or words with Canada has real tangible consequences. It would hurt us more than most.