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Was It Something We Said? Border Towns Fret as Canadians Stay Home

Was It Something We Said? Border Towns Fret as Canadians Stay Home


“For Canadians, Whatcom County is a kind of near-abroad — it’s seen as not quite American,” Tom Roehl, a professor of international economics at Western Washington University in Bellingham, said of the county closest to the Canadian border, which includes Blaine. “We kind of take advantage of that.”

Shane Miller, a computer programmer from Canada who bought specialty Christmas decorations at Hagen’s on a recent day, said he was traveling across the border less frequently. But he said there were products that cannot be found in Canada, or that carry such huge shipping and customs costs as to make him drive over.

“I’m not going to lie,” said Mr. Miller, 45. “A lot of Canadians, myself included, are not huge fans of the political status of the U.S. right now, but I don’t let that stop me — though I might think twice about taking a long vacation down south or something.”

Bargains can be alluring, too.

“I still like to shop a lot,” said Tina Olexa, 54, a marketing trainer from Surrey, southeast of Vancouver.

Ms. Olexa thinks all the bluster about pride and nationhood, on both sides of the border, may fade. “There are people who say, “Well, I’m not going to support the United States,’ and I think, ‘Well, how long is that going to last?’” she said.

Shannon Newson, who lives 30 minutes from the United States in the suburbs of Vancouver, is still coming.

She said the Pacific Northwest still feels a little like Canada to her — fern-green and wet and not all that friendly to Mr. Trump either. Washington State went strongly for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Whatcom County delivered one of her most lopsided majorities. “If I lived somewhere where I had to go into a red state to shop, I might think differently,” Ms. Newson said on a recent morning as she embarked on a two-day shopping trip in the United States.



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