Has Chrystia Freeland given up hope of a renegotiated NAFTA deal and resolved instead to use opposition to Donald Trump in Canada to ramp up domestic support for the Liberals ahead of next year’s general election?
How else to explain her appearance at Monday’s Women in the World summit in Toronto, on a panel entitled Taking on the Tyrant?
Freeland continues to pay lip-service to the prospect of a deal — that it can be done, with good will and flexibility on all sides.
But how much good will is the notoriously ill-willed Trump likely to extend once he is informed that Canada’s global affairs minister sat on a stage while a video played comparing him to a rogue’s gallery of autocrats including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad?
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, arrives at the Office Of The United States Trade Representative, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, in Washington.
All these leaders, claimed the video that opened the panel, use “fear, racism, corruption, anti-immigrant sentiment and misinformation to crack down on a free press, rule of law and political freedom to undermine democracy and consolidate power.”
Reasonable people can debate Trump’s foibles and shortcomings, particularly with regard to immigration and a free press, but Bashar al-Assad he is not.
For Freeland to tacitly endorse the comparison, the day before she sat across the table from Trump’s trade representative negotiating a deal crucial to this country’s national interest, was grossly irresponsible.
Unless, of course, the Trudeau government has already concluded that Trump’s demands on access to Canada’s dairy industry, the dispute-resolution system and cultural exemptions on media ownership and content are so unacceptable they’d be better off politically walking away without a deal and campaigning in the next election on having stood up to Trump.
That certainly seemed to be the tenor of Justin Trudeau’s remarks ahead of the Liberal caucus retreat in Saskatoon Wednesday, where he congratulated Freeland for “standing up for Canadian workers and defending our interests.”
In this June 8, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a G-7 Summit welcome ceremony in Charlevoix, Canada.
Canada would not sign an agreement that is “not to our advantage,” he said in French. “It would be better not to sign any agreement in such a case.”
Better off for the Liberal Party perhaps — but for the Canadian economy? Hardly.
There is a misplaced sense of confidence on …read more