Starting this week, it looks like it’s going to be all NAFTA, all the time, as trade talks get underway. Chrystia Freeland is kicking things off with a speech in Ottawa today, urging support for an overhaul, before she goes before a parliamentary committee about the government’s priorities (which I’m sure there will be a certain amount of vagueness about because I’m sure she’s not looking to negotiate in the media). While Freeland and Justin Trudeau have been making noises about labour and environmental standards of late, the red line will likely remain a dispute resolution mechanism, given our disadvantages with American litigiousness and their compliant courts.
In light of these talks, here’s a look at how the benefits are often invisible to Canadians, how populism is affecting negotiations – particularly among the Americans, and how energy could be an area where NAFTA does a great deal of good – assuming that it gets to the table this time around. Here is a look at the lead US negotiator, and how various groups back here in Ottawa are lobbying the government ahead of negotiation. And no examination of the negotiations would be complete without a reminder of previous trade talks with the US, going as far back as pre-Confederation times.
Meanwhile, John Geddes sets the stage for the talks, while Andrew Coyne makes the point that Canada’s leverage in these talks is the ability to walk away, seeing as we survived without free trade for 120 years and we can do it again.
- It took him until the next day, but Justin Trudeau did tweet that Canada isn’t immune to racist violence and hate, as he denounced what happened in the US.
- The PQ in Quebec are adding their voices to those of the NDP calling for the end of the Safe Third Country Agreement (as though we could do that unilaterally).
- More pushback on small business tax changes, (and again, Kevin Milligan hits back).
- This summer’s exploration of the Franklin Expedition wrecks has mostly been curtailed by logistical challenges, but also in preparation for future years.
- Oh, look – historians within the government raised questions about who the “architect” of residential schools really was. Because it’s actually complicated.