Take a look at a map and you’ll see that Maine is in Canada. Our boundary with Quebec and New Brunswick is 611 miles long. Our only other boundary, with New Hampshire, is less than 150 miles long.

The current turmoil with our Canadian friends is unfortunate and harmful. From President Donald Trump’s nasty and insulting remarks about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the emerging trade war, disaster is lurking.

As the Globe and Mail, a leading Canadian newspaper, recently reported, “Relations between two of the world’s closest allies are now at a perilous low.”

And let’s be clear about this. The United States is blessed by Canada in many ways. Trade between the U.S. and Canada totaled an estimated $673.9 billion in 2017, with a surplus of $8.4 billion for the United States. And today, the strong American dollar makes visits to Canada a real bargain.

My wife, Linda, and I love Lubec and its Canadian neighbor, Campobello Island, linked by a bridge. We stay at a nice cabin at Island Chalet on Campobello, and the exchange rate makes our stay cheap. We’ve always found Canadians to be friendly and welcoming, especially our hosts Rob and Diane.

Some of my best fishing adventures were in Quebec. My favorite place to fish for brook trout is the Leaf River in far northern Quebec. I was very fortunate — my first two trips there were free (we were doing TV shows) and my third trip was half price. A couple years ago I told Linda I would really like to go back one more time. But it costs $7,800 for five days of fishing, and Linda reminded me that the two of us could go to Italy for three weeks for $7,800. Alas, I did not get back to the Leaf River.

Linda and I have traveled throughout New Brunswick all the way to Prince Edward Island. Beautiful places. We’ve also enjoyed Quebec City, especially the historic section. And for our trips to Western states, we often traveled there and back through Canada. My sister Edie worked in Halifax for a couple of years and loved it there.

My grandfather Henry Searles was a Canadian from Campobello who moved to Lubec to marry my grandmother, Edith Johnson. The communities of Lubec and Campobello are closely linked. They are good neighbors. Many Mainers have relatives in Canada and travel back and forth often.

Maine depends on lots of tourists from Canada, especially places like Old Orchard Beach; and despite the exchange rate, which makes those trips more expensive for Canadians, they are still coming. At least I hope they are. I have heard that some trips were canceled in response to our president’s nasty remarks. In fact, a popular Alberta-based travel and culture blogger, Mike Morrison, told an Associated Press reporter that he and his wife canceled their July trip to the United States.

Many Maine businesses are feeling the pain of new tariffs, from lobsters to general contractors to Hussey Seating Co. Estimates are that, initially, $67 million of Maine products will be hit by retaliatory Canadian tariffs. Stonewall Kitchen in southern Maine was particularly hard hit, with new tariffs on 70 percent of their products, including jams, salad dressings, ketchups and mustards. Canada is a significant market for them, or was.

I’m sure you know that J.D. Irving, based in New Brunswick, is our state’s largest landowner. And perhaps you buy gas at the Irving’s Maine stations.

If the relationship between Canada and the United States continues down this troubling road, Maine will suffer greatly. Someone needs to step up and stop this before we all get hurt.

Take another look at that map, understand Maine’s place, and do everything you can to let Canadians know that we appreciate them and their country, and we value their friendship and cooperation.

As Howard Cody, a University of Maine professor, told reporter Peter McGuire, “There is this sense that Canada and Maine have always had a close connection, ancestrally as well as economically, and in a sense culturally.” Yes indeed.

Linda and I will return to Campobello in August, and I know we will be welcomed. Nothing and no one will ever change that, thank goodness.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon, ME 04352, or [email protected]. Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.

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