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Canada announces billions in retaliatory tariffs, says it will not back down

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Canada struck back at the Trump administration over U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, vowing to impose punitive measures on C$16.6 billion ($12.63 billion) worth of American goods until Washington relents.

The announcement by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland marks a new low in ties between the neighbors and trading partners which have become increasingly strained since U.S. President Donald Trump took power in January 2017.

The Canadian tariffs will come into effect on July 1 and largely target U.S. steel and aluminum products, but also foodstuffs such as coffee, ketchup and whiskies, according to a list by the Department of Finance. https://tinyurl.com/y8w5g895

"We will not escalate and we will not back down," Freeland told reporters at a Stelco Holdings Inc plant in the Ontario steel city of Hamilton.

Officials say the measures are designed in part to pressure Trump by focusing on goods from states where his political allies hold sway.

Canada's Liberal party government said last month it would retaliate after Trump moved against steel and aluminum imports from Canada and other nations, citing security grounds.

"We are acting very much in sorrow, not in anger," said Freeland, stressing the closeness of the overall relationship. Bilateral trade is worth around C$2 billion a day.

Freeland said she had already spoken to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and was prepared to meet at any time to tackle the issue.

Ottawa also unveiled an aid package for affected industries and workers worth up to C$2 billion, consisting mainly of up to C$1.7 billion in commercial financing and insurance for firms in the steel and aluminum sectors and related industries.

The Trump administration is studying whether to put tariffs on Canadian autos, which economists say would help plunge the economy into a recession. Freeland called the idea "absolutely absurd."

The U.S. embassy in Ottawa said it had no immediate comment.

While opposition parties have so far largely backed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for standing up to Trump, their support could be tested once the U.S. tariffs start to bite.

Trudeau, who usually attends celebrations in Ottawa on July 1 to mark the Canada Day holiday, will instead spend part of the weekend with families of steel workers in the western province of Saskatchewan, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Twitter. Goodale is from Saskatchewan, where Evraz plc has a major plant.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this month the tariffs were designed in part to stop cheap steel entering the United States via Canada and other countries.

Ottawa would take measures to stop the dumping of steel in the coming weeks once it had finished consulting stakeholders, said Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, appearing at the same event as Freeland.

In Washington, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said the tariffs would hit $170 million worth of U.S. beef products.

"We believe that cooperation is a better path forward than escalation," said Kent Bacus, the association's director of international trade and market access.

U.S. officials have also linked the tariffs to slow progress in talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump says is a disaster and must be changed.

Freeland said she expected the negotiations would enter an intensive phase after a Mexican presidential election on July 1.

($1=1.3141 Canadian dollars)

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Juan Williams: My immigrant story

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Raffi, my youngest child, wore his grandfather’s watch on his wedding day.

The classic with a sepia-toned dial symbolized the idea that, even as time passes, family bonds of love endure.

So what a painful contrast to my moment of joy a week ago to now see families being torn apart on the southern border.

How could an American president intentionally separate children from parents — break up families — as a new policy to deter immigrants from coming to the USA?

I understand that Trump plays politics with immigrants. He has even proposed cutting legal immigration in half. And he displayed indifference to family bonds when he proposed ending the family reunification standard that has been the hallmark of American immigration.

Last year, he went after immigrant children when he tore up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows youngsters brought here illegally — but who grew up in America, attended school here and even served in the U.S. military — to legally remain here.

This is being done by a president who recently described immigrants coming to America as an “infestation”? Of course, he began his run for president by demonizing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.

Well, Mr. Trump, let me tell you a great American story: I came to this country as a child immigrant.

My mother left Panama in 1958 after it became clear to her and my dad that the rule of dictator Arnulfo Arias had narrowed the doors of education and economic opportunity for my sister, my brother and for me.

My mom was nearly 50 when she left behind everything she knew to give her kids a chance at a better life. She did not want us growing up amid the gut-wrenching poverty, anti-black bigotry and the violence that was festering in our hometown of Colon.

My dad stayed behind as she took the children — then aged 4, 11 and 14 — to America as added cargo on a banana boat bound for New York. Yes, a banana boat.  

Fast-forward 60 years to last weekend’s wedding.

My brother, sister, and I are now the elders in three blessed, successful families.

When I say we are successful, I am saying we have earned our way as Americans.

My mom worked for minimum wage in a sweat shop in lower Manhattan to support us.

But that immigrant with the fourth grade education lived to see her daughter get a doctorate from Harvard. She saw my brother get his law degree from New York University. She read my writing in The Washington Post and The Hill, and watched me do political commentary on Fox News Channel. She even took a trip with me to a rural Virginia factory to watch as one of my best-selling books rolled off the presses.

None of this would have been possible had a demagogue like Trump been president. Imagine if President Eisenhower talked about “shithole” countries and separated me from my mother as our family sacrificed to become part of the great American story.  

Former First Lady Laura Bush understands:

“I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel,” she wrote in the Washington Post. “It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) understands the deep bonds of family under attack by Trump.

“As an immigrant, I know the magnetic power of America's greatness… As an American, I know that kids shouldn't be pawns while the ‘adults’ figure it out,” Schwarzenegger tweeted.

Other Republicans, however, are in the grips of Trump’s anti-immigrant mania.

Ann Coulter said crying children were “child actors.”

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski dismissed a story about a child with Down’s Syndrome being separated from his parents by making a mocking sound: “Womp, Womp.”

At rallies, Trump compares refugees to poisonous snakes that will eventually kill anyone that takes them into a home. And he highlights any criminal act by an immigrant as if immigrants have a higher rate of criminal activity than native-born Americans. That is just another Trump lie. But it is damaging to real people trying to join the American family.

Trump at first said breaking families apart was a deterrent to illegal immigrants. When statistics showed that was not true, he said it was up to Congress to change the law. But when he signed an executive order ending his family separation policy, that was revealed to be another lie.

At no point did Trump act out of concern for families and children.

He reversed himself only after a CBS News Poll found 67 percent of Americans said it was unacceptable to cut children away from their parents. Even 39 percent of self-described Republicans said it was unacceptable — along with 90 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independent voters.

“It is fitting that President Trump has been forced into retreat by babies. Cruelty should never be mistaken for strength,” Karen Tumulty wrote in the Washington Post.

My family came here as legal immigrants. But illegal immigrant children are the most vulnerable. And now Trump reduces them to collateral damage as he attempts to force Congress to give him money for a symbolic border wall.

The facts show the wall is all about politics because most illegal immigrants overstay visas and most illegal drugs come through legal ports of entry.

Raffi and his bride Morgan’s wedding was a celebration of the strength of family bonds and children yet to be born. That is America the beautiful.

But in the same week, our country lost the moral high ground that once allowed President Reagan to single us out to the world as the “shining city on the hill.”

Mr. Trump, have you no heart?

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

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Trump's approval rating just reached its highest level yet in the gold standard of presidential indicators

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  • President Donald Trump's approval rating is at an all-time high of 45% in the Gallup weekly tracking poll.
  • And his disapproval rating has hit a near-low of 50%.
  • His current approval rating at his point in his presidency lines up with the ratings of other presidents at similar points in their first terms. 
  • His new spike in approval could take a hit due to the backlash against the administration's controversial policy that has led to separating families at the border. 

President Donald Trump's approval rating has reached an all-time high of 45% in a Gallup poll released on Sunday. 

Gallup, considered the gold standard of gauging approval ratings, polls a representative sample size of 1,500 Americans by telephone every week, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. 

Trump's disapproval rating is currently at 50%, the second-lowest point it's been since the very beginning of his first term in January 2017. His disapproval ratings have been as high as 60% in previous months.

Trump's current approval rating 513 days into his presidency is on par with the approval ratings of other presidents at similar points in their first terms. President Barack Obama's approval rating was 45% at day 523 of his presidency, and former President Bill Clinton held 44% approval on day 524.   

Data analyst and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver theorized that Trump's sudden spike in approval ratings this week is most likely due to the positive reaction among Republicans to the summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Silver said that temporary increase would disappear in the coming weeks, as the Trump administration faces mounting backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike over it's controversial "zero-tolerance" policy that has led to the separation of parents and children at the US border. 

A Quinnipiac University poll from Monday found that Americans oppose the border separation policy 66% to 27%. The majority of Republicans support it, but by a narrow margin of 55% to 35%. 

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