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How Canada will fight its next trade war with the United States

Jacob Scott

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It looks like Canada may once again be marching off to trade war with the United States. It’s only been three years since the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump slapped tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum, prompting a suite of retaliatory Canadian tariffs on U.S. goods.

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Now, Canada is threatening the same against a proposed tax credit on U.S.-made electric vehicles. Introduced by the administration of U.S. president Joe Biden, the up-to-$12,500 credit is expected to decimate the Canadian auto sector.

In a terse Dec. 10 letter sent to a who’s who of U.S. lawmakers, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Trade Minister Mary Ng openly threatened retaliatory actions that would “extend across a number of sectors.”

If this latest trade conflict should ultimately come to blows, which of these “sectors” stand to be punished? The National Post reviewed the evidence.

Expect a list that will be as petty and vindictive as possible

When Canada first announced its counter-tariffs to Trump’s aluminum and steel levies , one of the most immediate reactions of many trade-watchers was how haphazard the list appeared.

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It made sense that Canada slapped tariffs on imports of U.S. products made out of steel or aluminum (such as barbeques and backyard sheds). But where the list got weird was where it punished whole categories of seemingly unrelated consumer products, such liquorice, chocolate bars, strawberry jam, mustard, candles and hair lacquer.

The reason those products made the list is because Ottawa had worked overtime to slap tariffs on products designed to impose maximum pain on political allies of Trump . A tariff on cucumbers, for instance, may have been imposed purely to punish Wisconsin, the home state of Paul Ryan, the then-Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Canada would simply be doing this again, but with products important to Democratic allies of Biden. So, Canadians can definitely expect some tariffs on U.S.-made maple syrup; not only does Canada have a ready domestic supply, but most of the U.S. stuff comes from the deep blue state of Vermont.

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Ottawa would likely try to exact maximum harm on Michigan

The purpose of Biden’s tax credit is to give a boost to the U.S. auto sector. So, it stands to reason that Canada should oppose it by attempting to throw as many wrenches as it can into that same sector. The U.S. auto sector was specifically threatened by Freeland and Ng in their Dec. 10 letter, with the pair promising to enact tariffs in a “manner that will impact American workers in the auto sector.”

Just last summer, thousands of brand new U.S.-made trucks needed to be stashed in parking lots and abandoned speedways because COVID-19 had caused a global shortage of semiconductor chips needed to make the cars run. Canada and the U.S. run a particularly integrated auto sector (Freeland and Ng wrote that “we have building cars together for over 50 years”) and we could pretty easily cause parking lots to once again swell with half-finished cars by denying any number of critical components.

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This is particularly true of EVs, the class of vehicle the Biden Administration is hoping to target with its tax credit. The Ontario company Magna International, for instance, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of electric drive-trains.

Canada could also make it a point to become perpetually difficult about importing U.S.-made EVs. Just as the Americans keep slapping tariffs on softwood lumber by accusing Canada of producing the stuff artificially cheap, we could do the same with Teslas and Chevy Bolts.

In this July photo, new Ford F-Series pickup trucks are stored on a Kentucky speedway due to a global semiconductor shortage. If it wanted to, Canada could cause any number of similar backups in the U.S. auto sector. Photo by Jeffrey Scott Dean/Bloomberg

Say goodbye to American dairy products

One of the more noteworthy American wins of negotiations on the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement was that it opened the door to Canadian imports of U.S.-made dairy products.

As a general rule, Canada hates importing foreign cheese and milk. Since the 1970s, Ottawa has strenuously protected the Canadian dairy sector from outside competition through a latticework of border controls.

Most of those border controls are still in place, but the USMCA compelled Canada to let in whole convoys of extra tariff-free American cheese and milk. To turn those imports around, Canada wouldn’t even need to draw up any new tariffs, we’d simply stop honouring the “ tariff rate quotas ” of the USMCA. This would be particularly galling to dairy producers in New York State, which just happens to be the home turf of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.

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We will accidentally-on-purpose avoid implementing a bunch of pain-in-the-butt copyright reforms the U.S. demanded of us

Another major American victory of the USMCA was how it imposed U.S. copyright law on Canada. Under current Canadian law, artistic works become public domain 50 years after the death of their creator. In the U.S., the rule is author’s death plus 70 years.

What this means is that, currently, the works of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, among others, are public domain in Canada while they still have another two decades to earn royalties in the United States. If you’re shooting a movie meant exclusively for Canadian audiences, you can technically put Foxy Lady in the soundtrack without paying a cent.

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But the terms of the USMCA compel Canada to also raise our copyright limit to 70 years, instantly slamming the door to whole libraries of content that have been enjoying royalty-free for years.

In their letter to the U.S., Ng and Freeland said they would simply forget about Canada’s copyright law “concessions” to the Americans. Or, as they put it, Canada would delay “the implementation of USMCA copyright changes.”

This particular American generally prefers his Congress to pursue policies that ensure foreign recognition of U.S. copyright law. Photo by Handout

If Canada really wanted to be spiteful, we would tariff imports on fruit and nuts

The top export to Canada from Biden’s home state of Delaware is “fruit and nuts.” So, by slapping prohibitive tariffs on American walnuts, strawberries and peaches, Canada could instantly kick $167 million out of the GDP of the Diamond State. Fruit and nuts also happens to be Canada’s top import from California, the home state of Vice President Kamala Harris. In that case, we could shut out $1.6 billion in sales from California farmers.

This is the part where we should probably mention that trade wars – much like real wars – have a nasty penchant to hurt both sides. Closing the border to California almonds and strawberries would score a moral victory, but would obviously have a disastrous effect on Canada’s already-spiking food prices.

And so it is for virtually all the measures above: Canada can mess up the U.S. economy pretty dramatically if it wants to, but not without shooting its own economy in the foot.

One notable downside of blocking imports of California strawberries is that Canadians would no longer be able to eat strawberries. Photo by AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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