December 05, 2019 | VIEW ONLINE
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News from the North

We are getting in the holiday spirit with our friends at NORAD, in Boston, and beyond! But, before we turn up Michael Bublé’s holiday album too loud and dig into our tourtières and bûches de Noël, there are a few more items on our December to-do list. Read on to learn more.

NORAD Tracks Santa

This week, world leaders celebrated NATO’s 70th birthday. Meanwhile, Canadians and Americans at the North American Aerospace Command (NORAD), started to get ready to track Santa on December 24th to bring holiday cheer to children and families around the world. This annual tradition started by mistake in 1955 after a newspaper misprinted a phone number to call Santa – listing the number for Continental Air Defense Command Operations (NORAD’S predecessor) by accident. A U.S. Air Force Colonel quickly recognized the mistake, then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls. Read more about how to track Santa or volunteer to help.
Of course, while tracking Santa, personnel at NORAD still have a day-job: keeping North America safe. Many of the Canadians stationed at NORAD and around the world are spending the holidays away from their families. Send them a card to help brighten their day!

Lowering Prescription Drugs

On both sides of the border, Canadians and Americans alike worry about the rising costs of prescription drugs. In response, the U.S. Administration and several states are taking steps to allow drug imports from Canada. These actions will have little or no impact on U.S. drug prices for three reasons:

  1. The Canadian market is small. The U.S. consumes 44% of the global prescription drug supply, compared to Canada’s 2%.
  2. Canada relies on imported prescription drugs, and cannot readily expand production to meet U.S. demand. Canada imports approximately 70% of its prescription drugs.
  3. Canadian drugs are expensive. Among OECD countries, Canada has the third-most expensive prescription drugs.

For more information on why the U.S. needs a “made-in-the-USA” solution to lower prescription drug costs, read our new fact sheet.

Reforming the World Trade Organization

On December 10, the terms of two of the three current members of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body (AB) – part of the WTO’s dispute resolution system - will expire. The United States is blocking the appointment of new members. While Canada is sympathetic to some of the United States’ frustrations and the need for broader WTO reform, we cannot lose sight of the benefits we gain by having a functional WTO undergirded by binding dispute settlement. The system provides stability and predictability to member nations and businesses, and helps avoid a “law of the jungle” environment where members engage in tit-for-tat retaliation, through tariffs and other measures which decrease trade. In fact, through the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body, the U.S. actually has a perfect record – 20-0 - in disputes against the member it has been most critical of: China. These wins have resulted in real changes in Chinese trade practices over the years, including amendments to unfair import charges, the removal of value added taxes, and favourable changes to the US in the areas of copyright and licensing. Read more to learn how Canada is taking steps to address U.S. concerns and reform the WTO.

A Story of Friendship

In December 1917, two ships – one laden with explosives - collided in Halifax Harbour, causing a huge explosion that devastated Halifax. Approximately 2000 people were killed and another 9000 were injured. The City of Boston, Massachusetts was one of the first responders to provide aid and medical supplies to Halifax. As a token of gratitude, Halifax gifted a Christmas tree to Boston the next year. Nova Scotia has delivered the official Christmas tree to Boston Common outside the Massachusetts State House annually since 1971, and this year is no different. Read more about the Tree for Boston lighting tradition.

Stay Connected
Learn more about events in Washington, DC and your community across the United States throughout December.
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