Trade with Canada constitutes 2% of America’s GDP and trade with America constitutes a whopping 20% of Canada’s GDP. My home province of New Brunswick finds 50% of its private sector exporting to the U.S. – NAFTA is of vital importance to our economy.
The dwindling efforts of Trudeau’s cabinet to negotiate a deal with the Americans could become his government’s greatest failure. With tariffs already being imposed on steel and aluminum, NAFTA is potentially unraveling before our eyes and along with it, the Canadian economy.
Trudeau’s American counterpart isn’t known for his vocal support of trade and yet he handed Canada everything on a silver platter at the recent G7 summit. He offered to remove all tariffs and subsidies on imports and exports, provided Canada did the same. This is about as fair an offer as one could expect. Trudeau retaliated by insisting Canada had been insulted.
The trouble with Trudeau is precisely that. He was given a talking point. He developed rhetoric rather than substance. Akin to Marco Rubio’s disaster of a debate performance, who refused to go off script even when he was being called out for scripted answers, Trudeau had a talking point. It was a good one, Canadians and Americans died together in the mountains of Afghanistan to bring justice for Americans who died on September 11th. Trump alluded to our tariffs on their dairy farmers as a national security threat. But when Trump acquiesced, Trudeau kept to his talking points and refused to go off script, even when his talking points no longer made sense.
The initial renegotiation began with Trudeau’s government attempting to include a chapter on gender. The Americans weren’t enthusiastic about devoting a significant portion of their time at the negotiations to discussing an unenforceable chapter of the deal, but Trudeau pressed on.
The liberal rationale in the briefing notes was leaked, “Think back 20 years and remember the early discussions of labour and environment in the context of trade agreements.”
Environmental and labour standards were included in the negotiations of decades past because a country that has humane labour standards is at a trade disadvantage to countries that neglect their workers and their environment. Gender doesn’t have any bearing on trade. His ideology is jeopardizing 20% of the Canadian economy.
He refused to relinquish supply management. Anyone who has bought milk on both sides of the border has found out that milk is twice as expensive in Canada. Canada has tariffs on dairy as high as 270%. With strict controls on dairy, chicken, and eggs, our grocery bills are higher than they ought to be. Trump offered to solve this problem for us and Trudeau declined – the Canadian dairy farmers were ecstatic at the opportunity to overcharge Canadians, but the Americans were eager to walk away from the negotiating table; meanwhile our cost of living is skyrocketing.
For reasons unbeknownst to me, Trump also insisted on a sunset clause. He wanted the deal to be renegotiated after five years. It would be difficult to establish a steel mill in Maine, geared toward exporting to Quebec, if I was of the impression that the mill could be rendered useless in five years. Nevertheless, the true sunset clause is today if the deal falls apart.
Soon, men and women could be equally unemployed to satisfy Trudeau’s ideology. Now, men and women could have equally-high grocery bills. Trudeau’s finding insults where none were intended could diminish the wages of men and women equally. Canada drastically needs a different path.
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