The thing,” Grant Toews was saying, as Andrew Jackson sat down in his usual chair at the window table in the café and set his coffee cup down before reaching for the cream, “is that if Donald Trump wants Canadian softwood lumber, he can get Canadian softwood lumber. At any price he wants. He has the firepower.”
“So you’re saying President Trump is going to invade Canada for our trees?” Bart Lawson, who was in the chair across from Grant, sounded doubtful.
“What else have we got though?” said Arvid Klassen, who was in the chair by the window. “Everybody needs wood. So if Trump is going to invade Canada it makes sense it would be for that.”
“Or,” Andrew stirred the cream into his coffee as he spoke, “it could be for our dairy and dairy-related products. Apparently our dairy farmers have been screwing their American counterparts for years by only producing as much milk as they can sell and then selling it at a fair price to American cheese makers.”
“Blessed are the cheese makers,” said Bart.
“Indeed Bart,” said Arvid. “No one is arguing that. In fact they are too blessed, apparently, so Trump is going to slap a tariff on the milk products they buy which will force the price of cheese higher which is, as I understand it, something Donald Trump’s base has been clamouring for, for years. Make cheese so expensive that people won’t be able to afford the processed stuff at all and will have to buy plain cheddar and do their own processing? Isn’t that what his supporters were always chanting? Make America grate again?”
“Different spelling of grate,” said Grant. “G-r-e-a-t. That’s what they were chanting. Make America GREAT again.”
“Well that doesn’t make any sense,” said Arvid.
“What do you mean?” asked Bart.
“America’s never been great,” said Arvid. “It’s been rich and powerful, sure, but other than that, it’s barely mediocre. Meh, is how I would describe it.”
“You have a point,” said Bart. “Being rich and powerful doesn’t automatically make you great. If it did, then Patrick Bargen wouldn’t be such a jerk would he?”
“Pretty sure Patrick would be the exception to that rule,” said Andrew. “We need a plan though, for if Trump does invade Canada. We can’t afford to all end up in some Minnesota gulag.”
“I don’t know what a gulag is,” said Bart, “but that doesn’t mean I want to end up in one.”
“I have a plan,” said Grant. “When we get invaded, the entire population drives down to the border. We park our cars about a mile away and then we all put on our winter boots and run across the border into North Dakota.” He took a sip of his coffee. “That way they can’t put us in the gulag or wherever.”
“Why not?” asked Arvid.
“Because we’ll be illegal aliens,” said Grant, “and with their new immigration plan, that means they have to deport us back to Manitoba.”
There was a moment of silence.
“That’s brilliant,” said Bart.
“Seems to me though,” said Andrew, “that deporting a million or so Manitobans is going to take a long, long time. That’s a lot of Greyhound buses you need for an operation like that.”
“Eighteen thousand, one hundred and eighty-one,” said Arvid.
“We can just walk back,” said Grant. “It’s only a mile.”
“True enough,” said Bart. “When I was a kid, I used to walk a mile to school and back every day…”
“Nobody cares about you walking to school,” said Arvid. “It’s not important at a time like this.”
“A time like what?” said Bart. “It’s Saturday, April 29. Just a normal day.”
“That’s true,” said Andrew, “but still, I have to agree with Arvid. Nobody cares about you walking a mile to school when you were young. At a time like this, or any other sort of time.”
“But what do you think of my plan though?” asked Grant. “Pretty foolproof, don’t you think?”
“It’ll be unnecessary,” said Andrew. “The U.S. will never invade us. We have a weapon they’re way too afraid of.”
“What’s that?” asked Bart.
“Free health care,” said Andrew. “If they invade us all we have to do is attack them with free health care and their whole economy will collapse and all of their belief systems will be called into question and they’ll be way too busy getting tests done to invade anyone.”
“And those tests will all come back positive,” said Grant.
“Exactly,” said Andrew. “Crisis averted.”
“Praise the Lord and pass the hypodermic needles,” said Arvid.