Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau views himself as the young, hip chancellor of his generation. He doesn’t see that his demeanour and his indecisive political nature actually hurts our country nationally and globally. But who cares when everyone thinks you’re a selfie and social media darling? What does it matter that Canada’s healthcare and immigration policies are circling the drain and the Trans Canada Pipeline was a giant disaster? Never mind the NAFTA Nothing-Burger we are currently eating.
Canadians regard the entire trade dispute with ambivalence at best. Sure, Trump goes on and on about how trade with Canada is killing the United States (it’s not). Sure, Trudeau says he will only sign on the dotted line if Canada comes out okay (ya right). Sure, the deal will go through whether it’s called NAFTA or not — you can call it anything but late for dinner!
In the end, even Mexico doesn’t get a deal with the U.S. unless Canada signs on. That’s what a multilateral deal means and that’s NAFTA in a nutshell. Unfortunately for everyone involved, there’s an actual nut trying to run this circus.
Back in 1988 President Ronald Reagan began the discussion of free trade between the two countries (the Trade and Tariff Act) and once agreed upon by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was created. Eventually, under President George W. Bush, it was amended to include Mexico and became known as the North American Free Trade Act. NAFTA’s main objectives were to increase the sales and movement of goods between the three countries while stabilizing wages and eliminating trade barriers. There were six major objectives of the act and all six have been realized, allowing the three countries to mutually benefit from an economic standpoint.
I don’t want to make this a boring history lesson (maybe I just did) on free trade and the two countries that at one time were major allies, but if we have learned anything from history it’s that Canadians need their prime minister to stand up and be the superhero he plays on the CBC news channel. Even Americans need this. If Canada concedes to Trump’s fifth grade behaviour it not only hurts both countries’ economies, it sets a dangerous precedent for allowing bullies to the birthday party.
Eventually Trump will grow bored of the NAFTA toy he inherited and move on to something else to wreck. Like taking down the Statue of Liberty to erect some gold-plated statue of himself, or perhaps he will try to buy a football team again, one that he can stop from kneeling. Hell, maybe he will go back to that military parade he so needs. And there’s always the children he’s keeping from parents in the name of curbing illegal immigration.
In all honestly, NAFTA will probably go through and it probably won’t change that much. Unless I’m giving the Republican and Liberal parties too much credit and they have lost their political intelligence along with their moral compass. If they have, we will need more than a prime minister in a cape, we will need a global intervention! Until then, let’s hope everyone who’s actually involved in the trade agreements between all three countries have IQs that are higher than Agent Orange’s shoe size, and that the Big O decides golf is more important than Canadian cheese.