Let’s take a look at an offshoot of the coronavirus pandemic, one that disrupted relations between President Donald J. Trump and 3M, which was political, and between the U.S. and Canada, which was unconscionable.
Trump keelhauled 3M for not immediately heeding his call to divert their manufacture of N95 respirators from elsewhere to the United States.
America First at work.
“We need the masks, we don’t want other people getting it,” he said at a Saturday briefing.
Yeah, but. . . .
The issue has been resolved with 3M agreeing to ship 166 million made-in-China(!) respirators to the U.S., while millions of made-in-U.S. respirators will be shipped to Latin American and Canada, which the U.S. had halted.
Is the U.S. entitled to cut the line, to swoop in and demand masks, when other countries had placed their orders first? Countries like Canada, for instance. Where is the morality in that?
3M initially resisted the president’s executive order, warning in a statement the move would have “significant humanitarian implications” for other countries desperate for safety equipment. Countries that had placed their orders.
In Canada, Ontario premier Doug Ford said nearly 3 million masks were intercepted by U.S. officials.
“The hard truth is, our supplies in Ontario are getting very low,” said Ford, indicating that Canadian lives were on the line.
The new agreement, said a 3M statement, permits 3M “to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”
OK, crisis resolved, but it never should have gotten this far, certainly not with Canada, our Northern neighbor.
Is Canada special? Yes.
Memory is sometimes short, so let me remind you of two incidents, one at 9/11 and one in 1979.
Let’s start with the earlier one.
On Nov. 4, led by students, and unimpeded by Iran’s Islamic government, radicals breached the walls and took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
The Iranians missed six Americans who slipped out of the Embassy and secretly were sheltered for months by Canadian diplomats, under the lead of Ambassador Ken Taylor. They were hidden until the CIA rescued them using an incredible scheme that became the basis for the 2012 “Argo” movie.
Once the hostages’ rescue was announced, signs appeared all over America — “Thank you, Canada” and “Canada, Merci.”
Remember? We owe them.
Less traumatic were aircraft ordered to land immediately after the 9/11 attack. That tragic day, 6,595 passengers and crew from 38 flights landed in Gander, Newfoundland, a Canadian town of 10,000.
Canadian generosity and hospitality treated the strangers, mostly Americans, like family.
Canadians are not just neighbors and friends. More than any other nation, they are family.
They should always be #1 to us.