It has been a rough few weeks for relations between Canada and the United States. Not long ago, the two countries, which share the longest border in the world, once partcipated in what many called the strongest alliance in the world.
Now, tariffs imposed by the administration of president Donald Trump, ever more frequent border conflicts and policy divergences, and antagonistic political rhetoric threaten to create an irreparable divide.
What Trump calls a "trade war" reached a new height last week when his administration described just Canadian retaliatory tariffs a threat to "national security" in an official complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Today, the Canadian government struck back, calling Trump administration tariffs an "illegal" violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The levies against Canadian imports unjustly hurt the livelihoods of Canadian workers. The unprovoked tariffs, which, according to the CBC, target Canadian companies that do not adversely affect American businesses, fit the definition of an aggression against the tenets of international cooperation and the stability of Canadian workers.
The charge refers specifically to solar panel tariffs.
This latest news comes as the United States pursues other aggressive economic and law enforcement tactics. American border agents have even conducted incursions into Canada-claimed waters off the coast of New Brunswick.
While the exchange of words, "national security threat" and "illegal," may seem innocuous, they mark a dramatic shift in escalating tensions between the two countries. The U.S. and Canada see each other as not only acting in their own self-interest, but also violating the other's economic integrity.
Where will this conflict go next?