, 03.09.2018 07:28 AM

In which I praise Trudeau and Trump

Cartoon by the amazing de Adder.


I have been critical of Justin Trudeau for (a) sucking up to Donald Trump and (b) getting nothing in return.

But credit where credit’s due: yesterday, Trudeau got a temporary exemption from Trump’s insane steel and aluminum tariffs.


The key word there is “temporary.” As I say to my pal Charles in our weekly chat, below, it looks very much like Trump did what he did to wring concessions from Canada and Mexico at the NAFTA tables.  He did it to get the U.S. what it wants at the NAFTA tables – which is something, but it ain’t free trade anymore.  It’s giving America all the marbles.

Anyway, here’s me and Charles.  These days, Justin Trudeau needed a win – any win.  Donald Trump, of all people, gave him one.


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    Peter says:

    Good for him, he deserves some congrats. I think he’s played that file right from the beginning by avoiding public criticism or unnecessary retaliatory threats. He wasn’t sucking up at all, he was shrewd in calculating where the power balance lay and what was in Canada’s interests, which is his job. Let’s leave the righteous preening to the Dippers.

    Also, I suspect Trump would be happy to give Canada a break, but he has a bit of an identity politics dilemma if he just targets Mexico. The problem with free trade is that is works well between countries with comparable wages, taxation schemes, labour and health laws and uncorrupted adherence to the rule of law, but when there is an imbalance there will be perceived and actual unfairness leading to political controversy. In retrospect, we should have been satisfied with the original Canada-USA pact and not fall into the “more is better” trap. Same in Europe. The EU worked great with the original six for decades, but when it expanded it became a never-ending divisive source of contention between north and south, winners and losers, big guys and little guys, etc.

    BTW, it’s also in the news today that Trump may go to North Korea and that the Norks are making noises about abandoning their nuclear programme. If that pans out, there’s going to be a lot of dancing and squirming by the Dems and the MSM, at least there should be.

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    Matt says:


    The temporary tariff reprieve is so Trump can use it as a hammer in NAFTA negotiations to get what he wants.

    Ivison’s article in the National Post yesterday was just pathetic. Gushing about how Trump listens when Trudeau speaks. Really? Last I checked his softwood lumber tariffs are still in place.

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    Montréalaise says:

    I`m not sure how much credit Trudeau should get for Trump`s decision to exempt Canada from the steel and aluminium tariffs. I recall Trump saying – well before the phone call from Trudeau – that he might impose these tariffs on Canada and Mexico, or he might not, depending on how NAFTA negotiations went. I think this was his game plan all along – get Canada (and Mexico) to agree to the USA`s terms with the threat of tariffs hanging over their heads.

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    James Smith says:

    May I go sideways & note on the day after International Women’s Day to offer congrats to my friend Minister Karina Gould & Hubby Alberto who welcomed their son into the world today! Hope this is a president for other talented women.


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    The Doctor says:

    Trudeau, Freeland et al. are doing ok on NAFTA and trade so far, given the clinical insanity of Trump and his dysfunctional administration. Talk about a tough file.

    On the other hand, the India thing is a full-on dumpster fire, with fresh gasoline provided by today’s bizarro press conference. Morneau’s last budget, while no disaster, was disturbing in terms of where it’s trending — Trudeau Jr. imitating his dad in not really caring about balancing budgets. I’m old enough to remember how that ended. Hint:
    not well.

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    Gord says:

    I’ll give Trudeau credit for not making a bad situation worse, but I’m not sure that there was any great method to Trump’s madness, when you consider that a) this action was rashly taken, for solely political reasons, without any apparent forethought and against the advice of Trump’s own economic advisers and b) really aimed at China in any event. Trump may think he’s buying some goodwill for the NAFTA negotiations but I’m not sure he thinks that far ahead.

    All of which is by way of saying that I don’t think you can chalk this up to any great strategic planning on the part of Trudeau.

    It’s also interesting to note that Trump’s moves are not going over so well with many in his own party. Paul Ryan observed today that while some there are some 140,000 US jobs in steel production, there are some *6.5 million* jobs that consume (mostly cheaper imported) steel.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    This is nothing more than a pyrrhic victory for Trudeau. The NAFTA shaft is on its way. In the end, he’ll have no choice but to walk away. Then we’ll get to enjoy another winless victory a la softwood along with our steel and aluminium tariffs.

    Pretty soon the PM will have the same level of affection for the U. S. that Freeland already has for Russia.

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    DanBC says:

    “but it ain’t free trade anymore.”

    It never was *free* trade anyways. And with the current negotiating team more concerned with their PC agenda, than business, its no wonder that our “crack team” can’t reach agreement and will likely fail. 80% of Canada’s trade is with the US behemoth, like it or not. A deal is required, no deal would be a disaster for Canada, Ontario and Quebec in particular, the core of the LPC by the way. Mr Dressup can use all the tough talk he wants, fact is, he can’t afford to let NAFTA die.

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