'We still love you': Border town urging Canadian visitors to keep coming

18 Jun 2018 | Canada
'We still love you': Border town urging Canadian visitors to keep coming

Americans living just over the Canada-U.S. border in Ogdensburg, N.Y., are urging their northern neighbours to ignore President Donald Trump's trade tirades and continue visiting.

The border town about 100 kilometres south of Ottawa is a popular destination for Canadians to pick up parcels, fill up with cheaper gas and do a little shopping.

Some Canadians have vowed to cancel cross-border trips and even boycott American-made goods in light of Trump's attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ottawa residents boycott U.S. over Trump tensions

The greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce is offering incentives to try to nip that movement in the bud, including taking Canadian money at par at some weekend events.

"We love our Canadian neighbours. It's very important for us to keep a good rapport with our Canadian friends. They put a lot of money into our economy," said Laura Pearson, the chamber's executive director.

Mayor urges calm
Trump told a news conference in Singapore Tuesday that he was surprised by Trudeau's closing news conference at the G7 summit, during which the prime minister said Canada would "not be pushed around" on trade. Trump, who had taken to Twitter over the weekend to call Trudeau "weak" and "dishonest," said that comment was going to cost "a lot of money for the people of Canada."

Trump insists Canada's supply-managed dairy industry is hurting American farmers and agriculture. He's threatening to impose a 25 per cent tariff on auto imports, which could have devastating consequences and potentially drive some auto plants out of Canada. 

Ogdensburg Mayor Wayne Ashley said the president should soften his tone and probably stay off Twitter, but believes he's "just trying to get an even playing field between the U.S. and Canada."

In the meantime, Ashley is hopeful Canadians will hold off on boycotting American travel and goods. 

"I think they need to think a little clearer, don't get upset and don't let their emotions run away with them," he said. "To do retribution against something that's been going so well for so long isn't practical."



CBC News spoke with people on the streets of Ogdensburg to see how they're feeling about this tense time in cross-border relations.  

Chris Norton

"I grew up in a border town. The Canadians were welcome here. We were welcome there … We should be good neighbours. We shouldn't just isolate the U.S. and raise the tariffs on anybody we feel like. We need to be more global in our thinking, and it's all not all about one versus somebody else."