"De vegades aquestes portes mai es tanca,"diu una inscripció el La Pau d'arc, un monument que el costat de la frontera entre Canadà i Estats Units. Construïda fa gairebé un segle, roman 67-peus d'alçada, en una mitjana de interestatals 5 i l'autopista 99, les carreteres que enllacen Seattle i Vancouver.

Per desgràcia, Estem a punt de tanca aquest portal simbòlic. En les últimes setmanes, s'han plantejat preguntes si Canadà romandrà en l'acord de lliure comerç nord-americà.

Leaving Canada out of NAFTA would be an economically destructive act I find hard to imagine. And I’m not alone.

Canada is our closest ally, tant literalment com figurativament. We share the world’s longest undefended border. We cooperate on continental defense, and Canadians serve alongside Americans in NORAD, with its famous command center in Cheyenne Mountain.

We also fight together. Aquesta setmana, Americans commemorated the anniversary of 9/11. It’s worth remembering that Canadians were among the first to join us in the war in Afghanistan.

We’re also great trading partners. L'any passat, Americans and Canadians exchanged $673 mil milions en béns i serveis. Politicians often fuss about trade deficits, però en 2018 we exported about $8 billion more to Canada than we imported from Canada. Our northern neighbor is in fact the largest export market for products labeled “Made in the U.S.A.”

As an alfalfa farmer in Washington state, I rely on Canadians. Cada any, we buy their leafcutter bees. They are essential pollinators and we couldn’t grow our crops or produce our seeds without them.

Any disruption to this flow of trade in the form of new tariffs or other restrictions would damage our business. We don’t need more hassles, but fewer: Even in the best of times, the trucks that bring our bees south routinely face delays of six hours at the border. Per empitjorar, the whole transaction involves a ridiculous amount of paperwork that keeps me tied down to a desk rather than working in my fields.

We should pull down barriers between the United States and Canada, not raise them up. Crossing the border at the Peace Arch, where Washington state touches British Columbia, ought to be as simple as driving from Washington to Oregon, where the only thing that stands between us is a welcome sign.

That’s how it in Europe. I’ve driven between France and Germany, countries that have gone to war within our living memory. Nothing blocks the way: Not a guard booth or even a passport-control station.

They’re part of the European Union’s common market, which could serve as a model for the United States and Canada.

No fa gaire, I visited friends in Bellingham, Wash., which is near the Canadian border. We decided to have dinner at a restaurant in Vancouver. Crossing the international line near the Peace Arch, No obstant això, took more than an hour. After this pointless delay, we pledged to ourselves: We’re never doing that again.

Because of these frustrations, Americans and Canadians don’t travel back and forth the way they once did. This has hurt economies in Buffalo, Detroit, i en altres llocs.

And it’s so needless. Every penny we spend to secure our northern border from those dangerous Canadians is a penny we can’t spend along our southern border, where our resources might serve an important purpose.

Fussing over Canada is a futile distraction.

I’m all for an improved NAFTA. I am hopeful the current round of negotiations will produce a good result that brings us closer together, making it easier for us to move auto parts, restaurant visits, leafcutter bees and so much more across the border. I’d love to see the United States gain access to Canada’s highly protected dairy market, per exemple. But I will admit, la tough talk from both sides in recent weeks worries me.

The Peace Arch has another inscription: “Children of a common mother.” Brothers and sisters can have their disputes, per descomptat, and maybe this is just one of those times. Yet the strongest families always make up—and too much is at stake in U.S.-Canadian relations to let our present differences divide us.

Anem a mantenir aquestes reixes oberts. Millor encara, Anem a eliminar per complet.

 

* Una versió d'aquesta columna va aparèixer primer a El turó el setembre 18.