Daily Video

February 19, 2009

Trade on the Agenda for Obama’s Canada Visit

President Barack Obama is making his first foreign trip as president by visiting our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada, to talk about trade and the economy.

This video report looks at the gloomy attitude Canadians have toward their economy and how closely it is tied to the shrinking American economy.

Because the United States buys many goods from Canada, a slump here hurts businesses there.

Canada also supports the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 1994 agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that eliminated most trade taxes, or tariffs, among those countries.

The report also touches on Canada’s military commitment to the war in Afghanistan and discussions between the U.S. and Canada on climate change.


“There is a saying here that, you know, we’re living near an elephant and we have to do well with the elephant. And if the elephant does well, we do well, too. So if the economy in the U.S. is turning around, then the economy in Canada is going to follow.” – Dragos Christia, Canadian

“The United States economy needs what Canada exports to you. Our two economies are tremendously closely integrated. It’s a source of strength, not weakness. When you’re in a deep hole, you think, “Let’s help our own guys first.” I understand that. But that’s not how the economy works efficiently.” – Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Party leader

“There are over 7 million Americans who depend directly on trade with Canada in terms of their jobs, and likewise here in Canada, maybe to a lesser extent, because we don’t have the same number of people, but that, I think, is the best demonstration of why trade works well.” – Lawrence Cannon, foreign minister

Warm Up Questions

1. If you had to guess where President Obama would go on his first trip as president, which country would you guess?

2. Do you think the government should encourage Americans to buy American-made products? Why or why not?

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think free trade is a good or bad policy?

2. Do current economic conditions change the way you feel about free trade? Why or why not?

3. Why does Canada’s government support free trade with the U.S.?

4. How is Canada’s economy important to the U.S.?

5. Why do you think President Obama chose Canada for his first foreign visit?

6. Do you think most Canadians are happy that Barack Obama is president? What did they think about George Bush?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

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