In The Media

5 experts weigh in on Canada's NAFTA communications strategy

by Nicole Gibillini (feat. Rona Ambrose)

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.

Annual Defence Procurement Conference

Ottawa, Ontario

October 25, 2022


G7 Update

by Heather Hiscox (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC, June 30, 2022

Inside Policy: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

by Editorial Staff (feat. Rob Huebert), MLI, June 30, 2022

Canada to upgrade Latvia battlegroup to a brigade, boost number of troops

by Editorial Staff (feat. David Perry), Kelowna Now, June 29, 2022

What slowdown? Canada's economy to top G7 on high oil, crop prices

by Julie Gordon and Rod Gordon (feat. Kevin Birn), Saltwire, June 29, 2022

Alliance renforcée

by Céline Galipeau (feat. Stefanie von Hlatky), Le Tele Journal, June 29, 2022

1.6 million public chargers needed in Canada for EV transition

by Larysa Harapyn (feat. Brian Kingston), The Financial Post, June 29, 2022

Passport? What passport?

by Martin C. Barr (feat. Andrew Griffith), Laval News, June 29, 2022

Oil production test looms for OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia, UAE

by Editorial Staff (feat. Ellen Wald), S&P Global, June 29, 2022

Eric Nuttall & Amrita Sen - Oil & Energy Update

by Eric Nuttall (feat. Amrita Sen), Nine Point Partners, June 29, 2022

All talk, no traction

by Maura Forest and Andy Blatchford (feat. Robert Huebert), Politico, June 29, 2022

U.S. pushes for Russian oil price ceiling. Feasible?

by Matt Levin (feat. Ellen Wald), MARKETPLACE, June 28, 2022

Russia Ukraine Update

by Susan Bonner (feat. Andrew Rasiulis), CBC Radio One, June 28, 2022

Un sommet de l’OTAN pour tenir tête à la Russie

by Marie Vastel (feat. David Perry), Le Devoir, June 26, 2022

A geopolitical alternative system of co-operation for nations

by Staff Reporter (feat. Swaran Singh), The Zimbabwe Mail, June 26, 2022

Analyst says high oil prices spurs little drilling

by Lee Harding (feat. Kevin Birn), Western Standard, June 26, 2022

It’s time for Canada to get serious about defence

by John Ibbitson (feat. James Fergusson and Rob Huebert), The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2022

Trudeau meets with Rwandan president, expands diplomatic mission in Kigali

by CBC Newsroom Staff (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC Newroom, June 24, 2022

With New Threats Looming, Canada Commits Billions to Air Defense

by News Desk (feat. Andrea Charron), New Express News, June 24, 2022

Drop in oil prices is not a quick fix for global inflation

by Editorial Staff (feat. Amrita Sen), The National, June 24, 2022

Highs and Lows of the Spring Sitting

by Peter Van Dusen (feat. Andrew Griffith), Prime Time Politics, June 24, 2022

Oil Incurs Second Weekly Loss As Analysts Differ On Inflation, Demand

by Ship and Bunker News Team (feat. Amrita Sen), Ship And Bunker, June 24, 2022


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 150–9th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H9


Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6


Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: [email protected]


Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.


© 2002-2022 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email