“It is highly unusual, after more than a year of three-party talks, for Canada not to participate in the new discussions between U.S. and Mexican negotiators,” said Chris Sands, head of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Indeed, recent developments point to a steady souring of relations between Ottawa and the White House. Formal, three-way talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement have not been held since May, though had been expected to restart after the Mexican presidential election earlier this month.
A third source briefed on the negotiations said the U.S. side, fuelled in part by Lighthizer’s dislike of Freeland, has decided to not even let Canada back into the process until it makes some kind of substantive concession. national post
If you are not in the room you are not part of the deal. The dimwitted PMO and Trade Pixie Chrystia Freeland seem to think that “standing up to the Americans” is good trade policy as well as political catnip. After all, if Trudeau can be cast as Canada’s champion tilting with big, mean, Trump he should win the next election in a walk. (Or so the Ottawa thinking, I am inclined to think Canadians are not that dumb; but I’ve been wrong before.)
The politics of trade are one thing, the actual effects of “no deal” are quite another. The combination of no trade deal with the US and the anti-business consequences of the national “carbon” tax make investment decisions in Canada very easy: why would any US company or Canadian company for that matter, build a factory in Canada when that same factory could be built in the US or Mexico and enjoy access to the US market?
No one has to love Trump to figure out that Canada is better off with a trade deal with our largest trading partner. If that means abandoning our weird desire to enshrine gender equality in such a deal or, more substantively, accepting a negotiated sunset clause or the gradual elimination of tariff barriers in the dairy industry, we should get on with it.
Unfortunately, the political class in Canada – and our awful media – seem to be holding on to the idea that somehow Trump is not the “real” President and that, even if he is, he’ll be gone soon because he’ll be impeached or convicted criminally. Bouncing around Washington to speak to mainly Democratic Senators and Representatives in the name of a “charm” offensive likely re-enforced the perception that Trump is just a bad nightmare which will be over soon. And, hey, mid-terms!
The happy thought of Trump’s departure is the bedrock of leftist delusions about many things. The reality that Trump is going nowhere and that he seems to be accelerating his agenda apparently does not register in the collective Ottawa political brain. It is too horrible to contemplate. So long as the Liberals and their enablers in the media cling to the vision of the quick demise of Trump’s America (and a restoration of those nice Democrats) they will blunder along gaining no traction at all in trade or on any other file.