In The Media

The Spectator’s view: Standing up to Mr. Trump

by Spectator Editorial Borad (feat. John Weekes)

The Hamilton Spectator
January 14, 2018

The Canadian government's decision to drag the United States before the World Trade Organization just as make-or-break NAFTA talks are set to resume will strike some people as poor timing and even worse judgment.

It's like calling the police on a noisy neighbour when what you really want is an invitation to the neighbour's party.

Or, as John Weekes, Canada's former WTO ambassador pointed out, it's "like setting off a bomb in a public square rather than using a rifle."

Well, the fact is that for more than a year, Canada has played nice-guy with the United States even as President Donald Trump repeatedly threatened to end the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Nice-guy hasn't worked.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, key cabinet ministers and supportive provincial premiers have all embarked on diplomatic pilgrimages to the United States to persuade state governors as well as leaders in Washington to keep NAFTA alive.

Yet far from exorcising America's protectionist demons, Canada has seen the U.S. slam Canadian softwood lumber, newsprint and Bombardier jets with crippling new duties.

And the U.S. still has enough poison pills stuffed into the NAFTA negotiations — including a call to scrap the independent dispute settlement process — to leave the trade deal on life support.

So if nice hasn't cut it, why not get tough?

Why not haul the U.S. before the world's trade court?

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and the federal government have done an excellent job of dealing with the Trump administration to date, and under nearly impossible circumstances.

The situation they face in early 2018 demands a courageous, proactive move.

Taking Canada's complaints about American punitive trade sanctions to the WTO, as announced last week, fits the bill.

Of course it will infuriate Trump. What doesn't?

There are risks this decision could push him over the edge and convince him to axe NAFTA. But in recent days, it looks more and more like Trump will walk away from the deal in any event.

We don't have much to lose in adopting a less compliant, more aggressive stance on the trade front.

And we do have all this to gain.

The federal government is showing Canada has a backbone and won't be cowed by Trump.

It's showing Canada is ready, able and willing to defend itself, vital sectors of its economy and the people who work in them against an increasingly navel-gazing American trading partner.

It's demonstrating that while Canada truly wants NAFTA to continue, we're prepared to turn to the World Trade Organization for a fair resolution of trade disputes with the U.S. This option will be especially important if NAFTA fails.

Beyond this, Canada's WTO challenge speaks to the president in the tough, clear and confrontational language he so loves. Perhaps he'll respect the tone, if not the message.

In any event, Canada can resume the NAFTA talks in Ottawa later this month offering reasonable compromise to American demands.

It can speak softly about NAFTA knowing it's carrying a big stick to the WTO.

 


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PODCAST

An Update on the NAFTA Renegotiations

May 21, 2018


On today's Global Exchange Podcast, we touch base with CGAI's North American trade experts in light of a busy week on the NAFTA file in Washington. After months of hard-pressed negotiations, and 6 weeks of 'perpetual' discussions in Washington, the deal has reached its next turning point, with Congressional leadership signalling that they'd need a new deal by May 17th in order to have it passed before U.S. mid-term elections in the Fall. With no deal in sight, and the Congressional deadline now in the rear-view mirror, we sit down with Sarah Goldfeder, Laura Dawson, and Eric Miller to ask where we go from here.


IN THE MEDIA

Between Trump, Iran and North Korea, Canada’s G7 has a high potential for chaos

by Chris Hall (feat. James Trottier & Colin Robertson), CBC News, May 18, 2018

The struggle Trudeau could face if Kinder Morgan walks away from Trans Mountain

by Robert Tuttle & Michael Bellusci (feat. Dennis McConaghy), Bloomberg News, May 18, 2018

Canada 'a laughing stock': Experts react to Trans Mountain indemnity

by April Fong (feat. Dennis McConaghy), BNN Bloomberg, May 18, 2018

AUDIO: NAFTA update

with Danielle Smith (feat. Sarah Goldfeder), Global News Radio, May 18, 2018

VIDEO: NAFTA Deadline Day (@ 3:00)

with Don Martin (feat. John Weekes), CTV Power Play, May 17, 2018

VIDEO: Deal or no deal on NAFTA: Canada and U.S. send mixed messages

with Rosemary Barton (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC The National, May 17, 2018

Trump’s 'submission' strategy is not working so expect NAFTA talks to drag on

by Kevin Carmichael (Feat. Eric Miller), Financial Post, May 17, 2018

Backstop deal may be last hope for TransMountain pipeline, says former oil executive

by CBC News (feat. Dennis McConaghy), CBC News, May 17, 2018

Stuck with limited oil export options, Liberals may regret B.C. tanker ban

by John Ivison (feat. Dennis McConaghy), National Post, May 17, 2018

Feds OK early start to construction of navy’s new supply ships

by Lee Berthiaume (feat. Dave Perry), The Canadian Press, May 17, 2018


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