The NAFTA Situation
So, BNN/Bloomberg says, regarding NAFTA, that “From day one, President Donald Trump has imposed his will on talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement. But as his administration tries to seal the deal, it’s not clear he holds all the cards … [and] … Trump’s repeated threats to pull out of the pact have kept Mexico and Canada on their heels. The president may still brandish the threat of withdrawal to push a deal through Congress … [but] … Canada does have some leverage as it decides whether to join a tentative U.S. deal with Mexico. Meanwhile, any agreement Trump signs then requires congressional approval, and the Democrats are favoured to seize control of the House in November, making approval far from a foregone conclusion.“
The article goes on to explain that “When negotiations stalled earlier this year, the Trump administration employed a classic divide-and-conquer strategy, focusing on talks with Mexico and leaving Canada on the sidelines. The result was a preliminary deal with Mexico … [and, now] … The U.S. is trying to convince Canada to join the party to keep the three-way structure of NAFTA intact. But Trump has made clear he’ll sign a deal only with Mexico if necessary, and he has threatened tariffs on Canadian-made cars if it can’t strike a deal … [thus] … The clock is ticking: Trump has given notice to Congress that he’ll sign a new trade deal with Mexico — and Canada “if it’s willing” — by the end of November, and his officials have to present text of the agreement to U.S. lawmakers by the end of this month … [but] … The U.S. said it wanted a deal by Aug. 31, so that outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto could sign the agreement before his successor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office Dec. 1, thus insulating the new president from the political risks of a new trade accord. But Trudeau called Trump’s bluff, and negotiations with Canada continue … [and, there is] … One key advantage for Trudeau: the math on new auto rules may depend on Canada’s inclusion. The U.S.-Mexico proposal requires at least 40 per cent of cars in the trade zone to be made by workers making US$16 per hour or more. Adding Canada’s relatively well-paid autoworkers would make it much easier to meet that threshold. Trump’s plan may be to lure auto plants to the U.S. from Canada. But for now, automakers and unions are pushing for Canada to be brought into the fold … [and] … Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including members of Trump’s own Republican Party, share that view, which puts pressure on Trump to strike a deal with Canada, said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington … [and he says that] … “The U.S. and Mexico have said they will go it alone, but Congress has made it utterly clear that a U.S.-Mexico only deal is D.O.A on the Hill.”“
Let’s just assume, for a moment, that the Canadian team has calculated that Lighthizer and Trump believe that they can ‘sell’ US~Mexico free trade deal that leaves Canada out in the cold and that Mr Lighthizer tells Minister Freeland as much on Friday, 28 September … what then?
One guess, made by Bill Kelly of Global News, might be that “The thinking [in the PMO?] is that the prime minister will tell Canadians that he needs a strong mandate from voters in order to go toe to toe with Trump on what is becoming a trade crisis.” After talks collapse, again, at the end of September, Prime Minister Trudeau could allow the notion of “No NAFTA … because Trump is a bully and liar who wants to punish Canada” percolate over the weekend and then visit Rideau Hall, bright and early on Monday morning, being assured that Her Excellency the Governor General will dissolve parliament and issue the election writs. If he did that on Monday, 1 October then we would, likely, go to the polls on Tuesday, 6 November, after a 36 day campaign when the weather in most of Canada is still not too bad for campaigning.
Bill Kelly says, in his report, that “While all-party support for Trudeau’s tough stand against Trump is waning, the Conservatives would have to be guarded in their criticism on the NAFTA file, for fear of being construed as taking the side of the erratic American president on the issue … [and] … From a political perspective, the fact that Andrew Scheer hasn’t really connected with voters in the way the Conservatives had hoped, and internal bickering in the NDP caucus might make the idea of an early election that much more alluring for the government.“
Recent polling …
… suggests that despite new scandals, and the pipeline debacle and warnings that Justin Trudeau’s political future looked bleak just a few weeks ago, that everything has changed. US President Donald Trump is something of a white knight, riding to the rescue of the foundering Liberal Party of Canada.
Canadians are united, it appears, in disliking President Trump, and he is an almost perfect foil for Justin Trudeau … against Trump even Justin Trudeau looks good.
The Liberals don’t need to worry about a foundering NDP on the left … when they run against Trump they will get overwhelming support from the economically illiterate progressives ~ something like half of Canadians.
They will not have to work to paint Andrew Scheer as Harper 2.0, The Conservative’s issues: balanced budgets, immigration and border security and so on will all fade under an attack that will say that Conservatives are like Republicans and Trump is a Republican so Andrew Scheer and Doug Ford = Donal Trump …
… it will be totally dishonest but it will work and the Liberals will use it.
Another LPC Majority?
If the polling linked above is an accurate assessment of Canadians’ outrage at President Trump, then one would not blame Prime Minister Trudeau for seizing the opportunity to secure another majority government.
Team Trudeau surely cannot be thinking of running in 2019 on their record; what have they got to show for nearly three years in office except stumbles, fumbles and broken promises? Oh, yeah, right … we will, soon, have legal marijuana sales in Canada … and that’s about it. The Trudeau government looks like an unfortunate mating of The Original Amateur Hour …
… and the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight ~ a bunch of incompetent ninnies led by an upper class twit. Even the most progressive of Canadians must know that they were sold a bill of goods in 2015. There was a reason that bona fide intellectuals like Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff would not give Justin Trudeau a high ranking critic role when the Liberals were in opposition, after 2006 … they knew that he was a lightweight, just not ready for any real job.
But, it’s not a sure thing, all elections are risks … Canadians might see past their outrage and understand that they are being played for fools, but I suspect the idea is very attractive to many Liberals because Donald Trump is such a great opponent.
Of course, President Trump and Robert Lighthizer, both of who are rumoured to dislike Prime Minister Trudeau and Global Affairs Minister Freeland on a personal level and to detest what the Trudeau government espouses, could turn the tables on him … all they have to do is make and then leak a proposal, at end September, that says, “Look, Canada, here’s the deal: you get everything you want, even some (meaningless) language about feminism, First Nations and the environment, you even get to keep your cultural exemptions and we’ll let a diluted §19 back in, even though, eventually, one of our courts will declare it unconstitutional and it’ll go on the trash heap, the tariffs on aluminium and steel will be gone, no tariffs on cars, all you have to do is cave in on the supply management issue, which looks bad for you anyway ~ I mean who has 300% tariffs, anyway? ~ and we’ll give you everything else. And we’ll understand that you will subsidize your egg and dairy farmers, ’cause we do that, too.” Then they follow it up with a real charm offensive, saying all sorts of nice things about Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau ~ it would be a political kiss of death.