All right folks, I’ve had it. Enough is enough.
It’s finally time for me to go off the deep end, and stand up for jobs in this part of the world and for all the people who either have them, or used to have them, or who would actually like one of them.
The reason I have finally blown my stack is because of the federal Liberal government’s total incompetence in the NAFTA re-negotiations. The talks have been dragging on and on and broke off again today, with Chrystia Freeland going home empty-handed. This is getting to be humiliating, in addition to worrisome.
It was bad enough that the USA made a handshake agreement with, of all countries, Mexico. By doing that, the Trump administration really put the screws to Canada, with President Donald Trump going so far as to threaten an end-of-the-week deadline which expired, oh, weeks ago.
Now the two sides are negotiating, but for how long? The possibility that things could collapse completely continues to loom large. I understand the main stumbling block in the negotiations seems to be dairy, with the USA wanting the Canadians to ease up on its protections.
Two other issues that are apparently still on the table have to do with Canada’s cultural protections and also the dispute resolution mechanism. Quite honestly, I can’t believe these last two are even stumbling blocks. These were all bedrocks of the original deal brokered by Brian Mulroney’s negotiators 30 years earlier.
What bugs me is this government has had its own priorities misplaced from the start of these negotiations. When these negotiations began, I remember the feds were going around declaring that they were seeking provisions on gender and Indigenous rights.
What has this got to do with NAFTA negotiations?! These Canadian officials came across sounding arrogant, as if they were going to push the Americans around. But the Americans were having none of this, certainly not on these “rights” issues.
From the start you could tell that the Americans meant business, from the get-go. They were, and still are, completely hostile and prepared to totally tear up free trade with Canada. In fact, the threat that tariffs might yet be imposed by the USA still looms over these negotiations. We have a tariff-happy President who thinks nothing of the idea of putting the economic screws to their biggest customers north of the border.
The other thing that raised my hackles was foreign affairs minister Freeland’s own participation in that panel discussion a while ago in Toronto entitled “Taking on the tyrant,” which trashed Trump for being a “dictator”.
Well, yes, he is, but whatever you think about this so-and-so Trump has to be set aside if you’re going to get a deal done with his government. Right now, though, Trump and his negotiators are absolutely schooling the Canadians.
This is not the first time I have gotten fed up and frustrated with the amateurs running the show in Justin Trudeau’s government in Ottawa. They have made a mess of a litany of things when it comes to jobs and the economy, such as
A) their handling of all the political roadblocks and court-obstructions that are preventing the Trans Mountain pipeline from getting going
B) the failure last year to get Energy East up and running,
C) their national climate-change strategy and plans for a national carbon tax, which will decimate the oil industry and western Canadian economy even further than it is.
D) Last year, finance minister Bill Morneau was also threatening to impose a bunch of harsh tax changes on small business. The business community had to put up an almighty fight to get him to relent on a lot of what he was doing.
Anyway, that’s the atmosphere business folks have to contend with from Ottawa. If it isn’t a “closed-for-business” attitude, then it is certainly a “we don’t care about business” one.
(Except for the cannabis industry. Times are great there; not so much for everyone else.)