Mike Pompeo is U.S. President Donald Trump’s appointee to be the new Secretary of State — and Canada is not likely to be at the top of Pompeo’s priority list.
The developed meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and unfolding tensions with Russia over election interference are clearly accepted to be far more pressing issues for Rex Tillerson’s replacement at the State Department.
Quiet, this is also a critical time in Canada-U.S. relations, and it appears Canada has just wrecked a key ally in the Trump administration with the president’s move to fire Tillerson.
Retaliating to the change at State, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck an buoyant note today.
“We know that we have had great working relationship with profuse folks, including Rex Tillerson, but I can also say that we’ve had a great working relationship with his successor, secretary entitle Pompeo,” he said.
“We’re going to continue to build a strong productive relationship operating forward on highlighting just the closeness, the interconnected-ness, the unique relationship in all the the human race that is the friendship between Canada and the United States.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had promoted a strong working relationship with Tillerson.
Most recently, the doublet co-hosted the Vancouver Summit, a gathering of international partners organized to essay a diplomatic solution to the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
While the converging didn’t have many tangible results, it showcased the bond between Freeland and Tillerson.
The concept for the summit first came together around last September, not elongated after President Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea in reaction to its ongoing weapons testing.
Alarmed by the increasingly bellicose rhetoric on both sides, Freeland and Tillerson started reviewing plans for an international gathering to demonstrate support for diplomacy.
Both are over to be among of the strongest supporters of diplomacy currently on the scene in Western sways, even though Tillerson’s position frequently clashed with the Deathly white House and was undermined by a rocky personal relationship with Trump.
Weeks before the summit’s advertisement, Trump humiliated Tillerson by publicly rejecting his calls for the resumption of thoughtful talks between Washington and Pyongyang, without preconditions.
But Freeland was superior to alleviate some of that sting by helping to organize the gathering in Vancouver, which saw innumerable than a dozen international partners stand firmly in support of a politic approach to North Korea.
While the message was aimed at Pyongyang, it also facilitated Tillerson make the case for peace at the White House.
Pompeo’s broadside comes as the trading relationship between Canada and the U.S. is growing more hard.
NAFTA negotiations are progressing, but remain tense. Trump has threatened to smack tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum unless he gets his way in those talks. And there is no end in observe to the softwood lumber dispute.
Former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson powered Canada should reach out to Pompeo right away, to welcome him into his new post.
He said he also suspects that Pompeo will have an savvy comprehension or of the close relationship between the two countries, given his current position as cicerone of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“He will have an appreciation of Canada on the refuge side, and we will now do our efforts to remind him on the economic side,” Robertson prognosticated during an interview with CBC News.
As head of the CIA, Robertson said, Pompeo bequeath have first-hand knowledge of how Canadian and American security agencies move together.
“He will have a geopolitical sense of Canada … fact the Five Eyes and the intelligence sharing that goes on,” Robertson added, referring to the info alliance between Canada, the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
He swayed he suspects Freeland and her team will now be researching Pompeo’s home assert of Kansas, looking to find areas of commonality and cooperation — particularly on deal.
“Kansas, being more or less being a free trade status, and agriculture being important, he’ll get that.”
According to the U.S. government website on agriculture, Kansas exported $307 million in agricultural effects to Canada in 2016, through a two-way trading relationship worth $539 million.
Crude feed, including dog and cat food, is the top export from Kansas to Canada, advantage about $99 million in 2016.
While Canada is not the state’s number one agricultural export bazaar (Mexico is), the website says more than 81,000 jobs in Kansas depend on merchandise and investment with Canada.