British Columbia

In Trump era, Washington governor says relationship with B.C. becoming more important

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee says in the "unpredictable" presidency of Donald Trump, his state's relationship with B.C. will become increasingly important for tourism, economies, research and the fight against climate change.

On NAFTA: 'The last thing we need is a border war at Blaine and the Peace Arch'

B.C. Premier Christy Clark (right) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee sign a memorandum of understanding at the Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Vancouver in September 2016. (Microsoft/The Canadian Press)

The governor of Washington State says in the Trump era of U.S. politics, the relationship between his state and British Columbia will become even more important.

Gov. Jay Inslee says on trade, tourism and the environment, Donald Trump's policies could hurt his state, which is why he says he wants to work closer with B.C. and like-minded states.

"The unpredictable nature of the president's actions so far … has to make one worry about these relationships because we're such a trade-dependant state," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"One out of every three or four jobs is dependant on exports in my state, Canada is our number two trade partner and the last thing we need is a border war at Blaine and the Peace Arch."

Inslee says Trump's handling of China and the travel ban — which his and other states have challenged the president on — have him deeply concerned about the president's "rashness."

He worries NAFTA could be treated in a similarly rash way.

Many ties across border

Inslee says he wants to keep tourism ties strong between the two jurisdictions with more air service and perhaps, in the future, high-speed rail.

He also says the region is strongly positioned to become a leader in biomedical research and wants to establish a research corridor between Vancouver and Seattle to "co-mingle" research efforts.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters after it was announced that Washington State would sue President Donald Trump over an executive order that suspended immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations and sparked nationwide protests. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

"So, of all the noise and sturm und drang coming out of Washington, D.C., you can trust that we're going to build our relationship," he said. "We're doing that right now to great effect."

He also says there's room, and urgency, for B.C. and Washington to work together on climate change because he believes Trump will not help in that fight.

"And that's a shame when it comes to British Columbia and Washington because we share the Salish Sea, which is 30 per cent more acidic than it was in pre-industrial times, and it'll be 100 percent more acidic over the next century, if we continue spewing carbon dioxide without limitation," he said.

He says B.C. and the Pacific Rim states  like Washington, which is focused on battery technology, solar panels and carbon fibre, are growing their clean energy economies.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: In Trump era, Washington governor says relationship with B.C. becoming more important