In The Media

5 experts weigh in on Canada's NAFTA communications strategy

by Nicole Gibillini (feat. Rona Ambrose)

BNN
August 4, 2017

While the U.S. has already laid the groundwork for what its bringing to the negotiating table in upcoming NAFTA talks, Ottawa has been keeping quiet about its own objectives.

The first round of negotiations are set to begin in Washington, D.C. on August 16 and a second round is slated to begin Sept. 10 in Mexico. The Trump administration unveiled its first set of priorities last month, revealing they would target Canada’s telecom and banking sectors, as well as the country’s agriculture and auto industries. But Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said there’s no “huge advantage” to reveal Canada’s strategy just yet.

Below, BNN has compiled a list of what business leaders and other experts have had to say about Canada’s stance heading into NAFTA re-negotiations.

Rona Ambrose, global fellow at the Wilson Center Canada Institute, and former interim Conservative Party leader

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Canada waiting in the weeds and watching and observing for now. Because we now know what the Americans’ starting point is…There’s been a lot of negotiations behind the scenes in terms of consultations with industry across Canada. Lots of feedback has been provided to the Canadian government, which is the important thing to do.”

“I think the real risk to us is on the political side…President Trump has made a lot of promises. So he has a lot on the line. I think one of things I hope happens is that these negotiations are driven at the highest political level.”

Trump, compared to Canada, has more to lose from NAFTA talks: Ambrose

Rona Ambrose, global fellow at the Wilson Center Canada Institute and an advisory council member at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, joins BNN's Catherine Murray for a look at what's taking shape with NAFTA as the deadline for the talks — set for August 16-20 — inches closer.

Joe Oliver, Former Finance Minister

“I think you have to set out your basic objectives, and if there are certain things that they’re asking for that are red lines, I think it’s important for us to convey that. Also, the government has a responsibility to communicate to Canadians what its overarching objectives are. We don’t have to divulge all our negotiation tactics of course, and there’s no need to do that. But we’ve got to show that we are coming in here strong."

Derek Burney, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States

“This is not a negotiation in which the Americans present Canada and Mexico with a list of unilateral concessions. This should be a negotiation about mutual benefit for all three parties – and at a minimum, I think that that’s a message Canada, as well as Mexico, should be conveying…The sooner the Canadian government responds with a forceful message of its own, the more we are going to be credible at a negotiating table.”

Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar

“We will be providing advice the government in terms of the negotiations and thinking about a variety of sectors from a variety of perspectives, and just trying to make sure we get the very best deal we can. This is our most important trade agreement…I think it’s critical for us, for the whole continent, that we put an agreement together that makes a lot of sense, that doesn’t add a lot of costs, that is modernized, and that really works well for all of us to encourage trade on the continent.”

Peter Donolo, vice-president, Hill + Knowlton Strategies Canada, and former Director of Communications for Prime Minister Jean Chretien  

“I think there’s actually risks to us. The risk is [Trump] will look for some easy wins that he doesn’t have to go to legislature about. And trade could be one of them…Canadians tend to be boy scouts generally on this stuff. We want our tough arguments, we want to make sure all the i’s are dotted, t’s are crossed. But if you’re dealing with a maniac at the other side, there’s no guarantee that that buttoned-down approach is going to work.”


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Donate to Canadian Global Affairs Institute Subscribe
 

SEARCH


 

EVENTS

Canada's State of Trade: At Home and Beyond
February 13, 2018
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM EST

2018 Speaker Dinner: Canada - U.S. Relations in the Age of Trump featuring Conrad Black
March 6, 2018
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM MST

 

IN THE MEDIA


NAFTA ministers attending longer round
by Alexander Panetta (feat. Eric Miller), The Canadian Press, January 19, 2018

NAFTA talks to proceed even if U.S. government shuts down: report
by Kelsey Johnson (feat. Sarah Goldfeder), iPolitics, January 19, 2018

VIDEO: Analysis: ISIS fighters returning to Quebec
with Paul Karwatsky (feat. Kyle Matthews), CTV News, January 18, 2018

Former commanders urging authorities to charge or exonerate Vice-Admiral Norman
by Robert Fife & Steven Chase (feat. Dave Perry), The Globe and Mail, January 18, 2018

Two steps forward in Canada's pipeline dance
by Chris Varcoe (feat. Dennis McConaghy), Calgary Herald, January 18, 2018

‘Propaganda’: Russia condemns Canada’s North Korea summit
by Bruce Campion-Smith (feat. Marius Grinius), Toronto Star, January 18, 2018

Alberta’s Notley government signs on as Keystone XL customer
by Tom Vernon (feat. Dennis McConaghy), Global News, January 18, 2018

 

LATEST TWEETS


Donate | Submit | Media Inquiries
Making sense of our complex world. | Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.
 
HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada  T2P 4K9
 
OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute

8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1N 5S6

Phone: (613) 288-2529 
Email: contact@cgai.ca 
Web: cgai.ca
 
2002-2018 Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Charitable Registration No.  87982 7913 RR0001