During the past year, NAFTA has been encountering ill winds and rough seas. The ill winds come from the Blow Hard-in-Chief. Peter Clark writes:
The Prime Minister has used his personal relationship with Trump to avoid crises. Now Canada is deemed “spoiled” and “difficult”. Trudeau is doing what a responsible leader needs to do when faced with madman tactics and threats to Canada and Canadians by trying to defuse the threat. But his neighbour will not talk to him.
The man who claims he knows all there is to know about the art of the deal has proved to be a deal breaker, not a deal maker.
Chrystia Freeland has shuttled back and forth between Washington and Ottawa. She has had a thankless task:
I don’t envy Freeland. Imagine negotiating with a four-year-old, with the power and leverage of the President of the United States. Add to that a counterpart in Lighthizer who is impossible to satisfy. Freeland and Lighthizer talked face to face for two hours Tuesday, but neither was all that interested in listening.
Bashing Mexico and NAFTA worked well for Trump in the primaries and his election. It’s a safe bet that he will keep to his whipping-boy strategy for the mid-terms and tie Canada to the post as well.
Canada has worked hard to garner support from state governors and individual members of Congress. But it's clear Trump doesn't listen to any of those folks. Television is the source of Trump's information. Briefing notes be damned.
NAFTA may well be damned. The winds and seas could get a lot rougher.