Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, pictured here on Dec. 10, 2019, said it was "nothing short of a betrayal" when U.S. administration ordered 3M to stop shipping respirator masks to Canada this week.

The Canadian Press

When U.S. President Donald Trump ordered 3M to stop shipping respirator masks to Canada and Latin America, reaction across the political spectrum in this country was swift.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called it unacceptable and a lousy way to treat “friends.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called it “nothing short of a betrayal.”

Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, reminded the White House of the pivotal role that his province, and in particular the town of Gander, played in taking care of stranded American airline passengers after the 9/11 attack. Even Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reminded Mr. Trump that Canada had made “very real sacrifices” on behalf of the U.S. in the global fight against terrorism.

Story continues below advertisement

It was quite a team effort, one that included premiers not normally known for jumping to the defence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also criticized Mr. Trump for requesting 3M abandon long-time customers in a time of peril.

Whether it was the tag-team effort of the premiers, or quiet diplomacy by Ottawa, the White House later rescinded the directive. That doesn’t mean the end of medical supply problems – not as long as a mercurial and often vindictive President remains in charge.

But Mr. Trump did do one positive thing: he helped unify Canadian political leaders in this country’s fight against COVID-19. In fact, the response to the pandemic here has, for the most part, ushered in a most welcome post-partisanship period.

A recent story in the Toronto Star talked about the friendship that has blossomed between former enemies Mr. Ford and federal Liberal cabinet minister Chrystia Freeland, who is co-ordinating the government’s coronavirus response with the provinces. Now, the two talk into the night about the economic fallout from the pandemic, referring to each other as their mutual “therapists.”

This truce between rivals has become evident at the provincial level as well. In B.C., onetime Liberal cabinet minister Shirley Bond, as fierce a critic of the NDP as you’ll find, recently took to Twitter to thank Health Minister Adrian Dix for all his hard work, and urged him to stay safe and well. Her hashtag #AllinThisTogether received wide applause from a public not used to such generosity of spirit among political adversaries. This is a bipartisan scene being played out by provincial politicians across the country.

This does not mean that there hasn’t been a time and place for political parties, especially the Conservative opposition in Ottawa, to demand accountability and transparency in the government’s pandemic response. This particularly pertains to the enormous amounts of money being spent to help get Canadians through this. But overall, our politicians have shed their partisan robes for the time being, knowing that in the war we are fighting we are all on the same side.

One appreciates this even more when looking at what is happening in the U.S., where the President has picked fights with those state governors who have not shown enough appreciation for whatever help Washington might be sending their way. The U.S. in many ways remains as divided as ever, even while the country tries to fight a common enemy.

Story continues below advertisement

This has led to a fractured response to the pandemic, with some states taking the matter extremely seriously, while others, especially in the Republican south, have been slower to enact social-distancing measures, if at all. Any hopes that there might be a reprieve in the holy war between the country’s two main political parties vanished the moment Mr. Trump blamed the Democrats for, initially, perpetuating the coronavirus “hoax” and later for not leaving the country in very good shape to fight it.

Those Canadians brave enough to follow what is happening south of the border doubtlessly feel even more fortunate to live where they do, to witness in real time what political leadership looks like amid a global calamity.

No, not every move our governments have made have been perfect. There have been mistakes, to be sure. But more often than not, they have been honest ones. And thankfully when they’ve been made, we have not seen the kind of finger-pointing that has surfaced in the U.S. – a phenomenon that only serves to make a nervous populace even more angry and on edge.

In an unparalleled crisis, people want their leaders working together, not at odds with one another.

We have no idea how long this public-health emergency will last. And there will undoubtedly come a time when politics will look and sound a lot like it used to.

But there is also a good chance that some of the antagonism we are used to seeing will disappear. Because after you’ve been through a war with someone, you’re bonded with them for life.

Story continues below advertisement

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies