Provencher Member of Parliament Ted Falk and his fellow members of the Manitoba Conservative caucus met in Grand Forks Tuesday with North Dakota Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer. Falk says the items they discussed included NAFTA and agriculture. He adds those topics had some extra urgency because of what happened just before the meeting started.
"President Trump just made some very provocative statements towards our dairy industry about 14 minutes before we started our meeting. It was re-assuring to hear the congressman tell us that President Trump is known for making some very strong and bold statements but then, upon further investigation, in a lot of instances, he's very open to changing his position on things once he actually looks at the facts."
Falk adds they also talked about the stream of migrants entering Canada at the Emerson border crossing and agreed on the need for Canada to maintain the integrity of its border.
"The recognition was there that Canada needs to maintain integrity in its refugee acceptance criteria. And, if we don't maintain the integrity that they expect us to have, that could impact issues of cross-border traffic for not only consumers wanting to travel back and forth, but also for commercial goods if there's a loss of confidence in border security and in our refugee process."
Falk notes Congressman Cramer has the ear of President Trump and will be an important ally.
"He came out early on as supporting President Trump in his bid for the presidency and he's got very clear and direct access to Mr. Trump and actually has the ear of the President. So this is a person that we want to make sure we keep good relations with and certainly he was very open-minded and cooperative."
Falk adds all in attendance at the meeting agreed on the need to keep trade strong between Canada and the U.S.
"It was very re-assuring to hear Congressman Cramer tell us how important our countries are to each other. The aspect of goods and services crossing the border was something that he recognized was very important not only to Canada but also to the Americans. For 32 states, their primary trading partner is Canada and so there's a recognition that Canada plays a very key and vital role in the American economy as do the Americans to us."