It’s still the topic du jour, so I’m still on about it

pierre-trudeauIn a column in the Globe and Mail, Lawrence Martin, pretty much a Liberal toady if there ever was one in the media, gives us a good, fair tour d’horizon of the unfriendly but workable tacking-zig-zagrelationship between Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and president Richard Nixon. Pierre Trudeau picked his fights ~ not always wisely ~ and altered course when the winds were against him.

One of the key points that Mr Martin draws is from former Quebec premier Jean Charest who  “sees a big opportunity for Ottawa. Mr. Trump’s heavy protectionist lean will make Canada the new landing strip for investment in North America, he says. The Trump demands for renegotiating NAFTA need not necessarily redound to this country’s detriment.” This is analogous to the UK situation and the Brexit: the UK must now work to remain as America’s “landing strip” of choice for Europe. It may be that Europe and the UK (and China) will see Canada as a good place to build factories (jobs!) IF we can maintain our access to the US market.

On the economic front Mr Martin says that “While the Keystone XL pipeline might now be saved, cause for much concern are Trumpian economic plans to slash taxes, including corporate levies, and regulations. It will make it more attractive for companies to do business in the United States than here where carbon taxes are coming on stream and minimum wages in provinces are rising.” Those are are potentially real, serious problems for Canadian policy makers and Justin Trudeau, Kathleen Wynne and all the others must rethink corporate tax rates, carbon taxes and minimum wage proposals.

Lawrence Martin is off base on foreign and defence policy when he says “Mr. Trudeau can hold his ground. Tell him to beat it. On defence policy, Ottawa is supporting NATO in sending a military contingent to Latvia. Mr. Trump has called NATO obsolete.” We have no ground to hold: we are one of the countries that will be in Mr Trump’s burden sharing sights. We do not need to ape American foreign policy nor its defence and e.g. refugee policies, but we must do what is necessary to maintain our free access to the US market and if that means being less green, having tighter border controls and spending more on defence then that’s what will have to happen. The events that used to worry British Prime Minister Macmillan …

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… well, the events, the election of Donald Trump have happened. he will, it is 99.9% certain take office and he will, most likely, want to keep some of his promises. There is another “truth” that applies in this situation …

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… polices that are popular with many, but by no means all Canadians and that were very acceptable to President Obama may need to be changed now that the events have changed.

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