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Minnesota has enduring partnership with Canada

In addition to cold winters, a passion for hockey and a 547-mile border, Canada and Minnesota share a common cultural heritage and an inseparable economic future. We sometimes take for granted the impact this long-standing friendship has had on our economy and national interests. But as we compete with the rest of the world in an increasingly global economy, we must remember that any border that divides us is not nearly as critical as the economic North American future that unites us. Our pasts – and our futures – are inextricably tied.

I like to joke with my friends in the Senate that “I can see Canada from my porch,” but in fact I have set the record as the first senator in U.S. history to host a swearing-in party at the Canadian Embassy. I did that because I wanted to make a point that there is no other embassy in the U.S. that for years displayed gigantic banners that said “Friends. Neighbors. Partners. Allies.”

The economic relationship between Canada and the United States is deeply connected. Our countries share the largest bilateral commercial relationship in the world. In fact every single day, two-way cross-border trade between our nations amounts to nearly $2 billion – more than our annual trade with many countries. About three-quarters of Canada’s goods are sold in the United States, and Canada is the No. 1 buyer for goods produced in 36 of the 50 states.

In Minnesota, we have a particularly strong relationship with Canada. There are more than 160,000 jobs in our state that depend on trade with Canada and 18,800 Minnesotans employed by Canadian-owned companies. Every year, we export $5.8 billion in goods to Canada, which is more than our state’s next four largest foreign markets combined. 

Canada has also been one of our most critical allies in the global community. This has been evident as we continue to address the situation in Ukraine, where Canada has stood alongside the United States and our European partners. We have maintained a unified position against Russian intervention and are working together to provide technical support to ensure Ukraine is not dependent on Russian energy supplies. As home to more than 1 million Ukrainians, the largest population outside Ukraine and Russia, Canada’s commitment to peace and stability in the region has been unwavering.

The situation in Ukraine is another stark reminder of the importance of maintaining North American energy independence. Depending on unfriendly or unstable regimes that dominate the world’s oil and energy supplies is not sustainable and a danger to our national security. Fortunately, our relationship with Canada has helped deliver our own energy independence and been a key component in cutting our imported fuels to 40 percent of our energy supply rather than 60 percent just a few years ago. 

The work to strengthen our partnership with Canada is never finished. Fortunately, we have a working partner that knows the future success and competitiveness of our region – including Mexico – depends on our ability to work together to foster innovation and strengthen our national security. It is that partnership that will allow us to sustain North America as a global economic and security powerhouse for generations to come.

Klobuchar, D-Minn., is in her second term in the U.S. Senate.