Canada, Mexico et Trump

Experts urge Ottawa to strengthen ties with Mexico

Speaking to the Senate foreign-affairs committee Thursday, Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said Canada must make every effort to strengthen its relationship with Mexico as Mr. Trump moves into the White House with his anti-trade policies and plans to build a wall along the Mexican border.

“If the worst happens and the United States does withdraw from NAFTA and does impose the punitive policies that we hear about towards Mexico, it does not benefit Canada at all to pull away from that relationship as well,” Ms. Dawson said.

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Colin Robertson, a former diplomat and vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says that Mr. Trump’s election has been incredibly troublesome to Canada’s relationship with the U.S. and Mexico.

“The election of Donald Trump is proving, at least in the short term, as disruptive to Canada-U.S. relations and Canada-Mexico relations as 9/11,” Mr. Robertson said. “Strengthening the partnership with Mexico makes strategic sense for Canada.”

Mr. Robertson said the Liberal government’s decision to lift a visa requirement on Mexicans wishing to enter the country is a good first step to improving relations with Mexico, but more needs to be done.

He suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau make the relationship a priority by putting Mexico on his travel agenda for 2017 and bringing the premiers with him on the trip. He also suggested that Governor-General David Johnston visit Mexico with the presidents of various Canadian universities in an effort to encourage Mexican students to study in Canada.

Mr. Robertson said Canada can also boost trade with Mexico, regardless of whether Mr. Trump follows through with his with his anti-trade agenda. With Mr. Trump promising to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, essentially killing the trade deal without U.S. support, he said Canada and Mexico – both of which are signatories to the TPP – still have a chance to salvage parts of the TPP and the North American free-trade Agreement.

“If the United States were to pull out of NAFTA, NAFTA in fact remains in place between Canada and Mexico and I think that we should be looking at a number of the things we were going to be doing with the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and apply them, which we could do, to an updated Canada-Mexico agreement,” he said.

However, it appears Mr. Trump may be rethinking his campaign promise to pull out of NAFTA. In a 2½-minute video statement Monday where he unveiled his plans for his first 100 days in office, he did not mention NAFTA.

Ms. Dawson said Mr. Trump may change his tune on the trade deal once he hears the American business community’s reaction.

“Business was understandably silent during the U.S. election,” she said. “Now that we have a president-elect, I think business is going to be lined up down Pennsylvania Avenue explaining to the new administration how important trilateral supply chains are.”

In the case that the United States stays in NAFTA, Canada could use the opportunity to renegotiate parts of the massive trade deal to its benefit. Mr. Trudeau has already said Canada is more than happy to talk about trade deals, including NAFTA, if other countries want to reopen them.

Mr. Robertson said Canada would likely negotiate more professions onto the NAFTA mobility list and improved border access for Canadians entering the United States. On the American side, he suspects the United States would push for better protection of intellectual property.

In the meantime, Mr. Robertson said it’s time for the government to start re-educating the Canadian public on the importance of trade to the country.

“We stopped doing that in the mid-nineties and I think that’s a big mistake. I think we have to go back because Canada, of all the countries in the G8, we are really dependent on trade,” Mr. Robertson said.

Also on The Globe and Mail

Is TPP dead after Trump vows to pull out? (Reuters)

Élections de Donald Trump: le Canada ne doit pas abandonner le Mexique

Guillaume St-Pierre | Agence QMI

Donald Trump Holds Meeting At The New York Times

AFP

Alors que le président élu américain Donald Trump est prêt à brûler les ponts avec le Mexique, le Canada doit à l’inverse resserrer ses liens avec ce pays.

C’est du moins l’avis de deux experts entendus devant un comité du Sénat, jeudi.

Le chercheur de l’Université de Calgary, Colin Robertson, a dressé un constat sans appel: l’élection de Donald Trump à la Maison-Blanche perturbe avec la même intensité que les attentats du 11 septembre la relation tripartite entre le Canada, le Mexique et les États-Unis.Bien qu’il ait adouci ses positions depuis les élections, Donald Trump a promis de renvoyer des millions de Mexicains «illégaux», de construire un mur à la frontière du Mexique et de déchirer le traité commercial liant les trois pays d’Amérique du Nord.

Dans ce contexte, le gouvernement canadien doit résister à la tentation de tourner le dos à son partenaire mexicain, comme l’ont suggéré certains depuis l’élection de M. Trump.

«Je pense que c’est la mauvaise approche, a affirmé M. Robertson. Nous devons au contraire collaborer avec le Mexique sur les enjeux qui nous concernent.»

Sur l’environnement, par exemple, si les États-Unis décident de se retirer de l’Accord de Paris, «il y a beaucoup de choses que nous pouvons accomplir avec le Mexique», a-t-il expliqué.

Concernant les dossiers touchant à l’énergie, au commerce, ainsi que le sort de l’ALÉNA, Ottawa doit aussi garder ouverts les canaux de communications avec le gouvernement du président mexicain Enrique Peña Nieto, a ajouté l’expert.

La directrice de l’Institut canadien, Laura Dawson, est tout aussi catégorique: «Se désengager du Mexique ne nous permettra pas d’atteindre nos objectifs stratégiques», a-t-elle dit.

«Cela ne va pas améliorer notre relation avec les États-Unis», a-t-elle prévenu. Selon la chercheuse, l’importance des relations canado-mexicaines est souvent sous-estimée en raison de barrières géographiques, culturelles et linguistiques.

Conserver des liens étroits avec le Mexique est aussi une bonne idée du point de vue des affaires, a plaidé Mme Dawson.

«Le Mexique ne vole pas des emplois au Canada. Il en crée, a-t-elle dit. Il offre de la main-d’oeuvre spécialisée et performante.»

Le marché mexicain est aussi une mine d’or pour les entreprises canadiennes, avec ses quelque 40 millions de personnes faisant partie «de la classe moyenne».

«Cette population veut se procurer des biens que le Canada a à vendre», a-t-elle affirmé, citant les «produits de beauté, les aliments de luxe, et les services financiers».

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Relationship with New Secretary of State

Canada will have to fight for attention of new U.S. secretary of state

This week, several potential candidates for the job of top diplomat were discussed as the transition team of president-elect Trump scrambled to build a cabinet that will proceed with foreign-policy initiatives championed during a bruising campaign, some of them highly contentious.

Two front-runners could not be more opposite within the sphere of Mr. Trump – Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidate, and Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and unsuccessful 2012 candidate

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Read more: Early signals: The nascent shape of the Donald Trump administration

Mr. Giuliani’s support for Mr. Trump has been ardent, unshakeable, at times bordering on outrageous, while Mr. Romney famously denounced Mr. Trump during the campaign, asserting he was unfit for the presidency. Now, one of them (or even another, such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley) could be selected to carry out the administration’s global diplomatic tasks.

The trick for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, will be winning air time with the new administration after a U.S. election campaign that seldom mentioned Canada. The administrations of Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Obama are closely aligned on such issues as trade and climate, and the new U.S. government appears set to veer off.

“We’re talking about potentially a huge transition from the John Kerry-Hillary Clinton era at the State Department,” said Barry Rabe, senior fellow, governance studies, at Washington-based Brookings Institution. “That said, this is an administration that is going to be looking for friends anywhere in the world that it can find, given the level of alienation.”

Among top campaign issues were restricting immigration, taking a tougher stand in the fight against Islamic State and renegotiating trade deals like the North American free-trade agreement. Although Canada is a signatory to NAFTA, its huge trade relationship with the United States – worth $2.4-billion per day – did not factor in a lot of the talk.

“The Canadian relationship has clearly been overlooked. In North America, the issue right now is Mexico. It’s a hot-button issue and it’s likely to continue,” Mr. Rabe said.

One cross-border exception is the Republicans’ aim to resurrect TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Canadian officials have expressed fear about a new protectionist ethos in the United States. These were stoked by a memo obtained by CNN showing Canada’s softwood-lumber and livestock producers are being targeted by Mr. Trump’s transition team, which aims to extract more favourable terms in a renegotiation of NAFTA.

This is in keeping with the president-elect’s speeches, which hammered away at the theme that the U.S. is shortchanged in trade deals at the cost of jobs and economic growth.

Whether Mr. Giuliani gets the nod as secretary of state, he is expected to have a key role in the administration, given his close relationship with Mr. Trump. Like the president-elect, his roots are outside the Washington Republican establishment, as represented by chief of staff Reince Priebus, who’s been RNC chairman.

The former mayor and one-time U.S. attorney and associate attorney-general is known for an international perspective that is shaped by his experience after the 9/11 attacks, according to a recent New York Times profile. He was praised for his leadership during the crisis, which helped rescue his reputation in the wake of several controversial and unpopular moves during his tenure as mayor.

Since leaving civic office, he has worked the speaking circuit and has been advising foreign governments as well as the private sector on dealing with terrorism and security. His main focus has not been Canada, though he has sharply criticized its health-care system.

“My understanding is that he’s been to Canada, he knows Canada, he has an appreciation and probably positive feelings toward Canada for a couple of reasons. Our response to 9/11, and the trade and the tourism between Canada and New York. So we’re not an unknown factor to Rudy Giuliani,” said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat who had consulate postings in New York and Los Angeles.

Mr. Giuliani’s road to the State Department could be complicated by his business dealings.

His work with governments is receiving the most scrutiny. But Mr. Giuliani’s consulting for TransCanada in 2007 on its plan to store liquefied natural gas on the Long Island Sound is also getting notice. If appointed secretary of state, Mr. Giuliani would have a major say in whether to green light a resubmitted proposal for the controversial Keystone XL project. In Calgary, TransCanada would not comment on Mr. Giuliani’s work for the pipeline company.

Mr. Robertson said the secretary of state will be very much a proxy for the new president, regardless of who the choice is.

“In my experience, the tone comes from the top. Whether it was Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, or Condi Rice or Colin Powell, the personal relationships have all been uniformly good. We make an effort, they make an effort,” he said.

That sentiment is echoed by Gary Doer, who was Canada’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 until last March.

“We’re their biggest customer and a person like Donald Trump is a business person who understands that you take care of your best customers first,” Mr. Doer said.

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Canada US Relations in wake of Trump victory

Americans fleeing Trump presidency could boost Canada’s pot industry, immigration lawyers say

Susana Mas, Postmedia News | November 16, 2016 9:27 AM ET
More from Postmedia News

Lyle Aspinall/ Postmedia NetworkAmericans wishing to flee a Donald Trump presidency could work in Canada’s soon-to-be-legalized pot industry, say two immigration lawyers who dedicated a how-to podcast for our neighbours to the south.

Canada is the first G7 country that has committed to legalizing marijuana, announcing at the United Nations earlier this year that it would introduce new legislation by the spring of 2017, even though doing so would breach three international treaties signed by previous Canadian governments.

A federal task force led by Canada’s former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan is expected to report back by the end of November with recommendations on how to move forward.

Many startup companies will be seeking the expertise required to get their businesses off the ground as Canada inches closer to legalizing marijuana, immigration lawyers Betsy Kane and Mark Holthe said.

According to Kane, who is with the firm Capelle Kane in Ottawa, Canadian companies could easily tap into U.S. talent in a variety of occupations found under NAFTA

Pharmacists, biologists, chemists, biochemists, horticulturalists, plant breeders and even soil scientists will soon find themselves in “huge demand,” Kane said.

“These type of professionals should be seeking out opportunities immediately and in the next year because I think there is a lot of demand and these people will get immediate work permits with a simple offer from many of these startup marijuana companies.”

Postmedia

PostmediaA trimmer working for a cannabis grower from the Kootenay region

However, Holthe, a former immigration officer turned partner at the firm of Holthe Tilleman in Calgary, cautioned that not every pot enthusiast would qualify for a three-year work permit.

“Just because you have a private grow-up in your backyard doesn’t mean you’re going to qualify as a professional under NAFTA,” Holthe said.

Kane, who has some experience bringing in marijuana professionals, said she recently helped a client apply for a work permit under the plant breeder occupation under NAFTA.

“I was feeling a little nervous,” Kane said, but it was a “slam dunk — no different than a professor.”

Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

Ed Kaiser / PostmediaCanadian Cannabis Clinics in Edmonton

In other words, Democrats who want to bide their time in Canada until the next U.S. presidential election in 2020, could find themselves at the forefront of a multibillion-dollar industry.

Canada’s move toward legalizing marijuana was bolstered last week when Americans in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voted in favour of legalizing it for recreational use.

Their votes brought to nine the number of states that have given the nod to pot, besides Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Oregon and Washington.

With the right credentials, Americans in those states could lend their skills to Canadian companies and move back at the end of their work permit.

Gavin Young / Postmedia

Gavin Young / PostmediaMarijuana plants grow inside one of the ten grow rooms at Aurora Cannabis’ production facility near Cremona, Alberta

“The beauty of NAFTA,” according to Holthe, “is there is no requirement on the Canadian company to show that there is no Canadian available for the job.”

This is unlike Canada’s express entry immigration system where employers need a document known as a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) before they can hire a foreign worker over a Canadian one.

“You find a company that is willing to hire you and bang, you’re in,” Holthe said.

All of this is assuming that Trump doesn’t tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, as he vowed to do during the U.S. presidential campaign. Canada has already signalled that it is prepared to renegotiate NAFTA.

You find a company that is willing to hire you and bang, you’re in

Colin Robertson, a former diplomat and vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said the business case speaks for itself.

Canada and the U.S. exchange approximately $1.6 million in goods and services every minute, according to the federal government, with nearly nine million U.S. jobs depending on trade and investment with Canada.

Matthew Staver / Bloomberg

Matthew Staver / BloombergA customer shops for recreational marijuana inside the Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014

“For most of the states that voted for Trump, their principle export market is Canada,” Robertson said.

Reopening NAFTA could be an opportunity for Canada to bring the agreement into the 21st century.

“There are lots of good things about NAFTA but I wouldn’t be opposed to modernizing the occupations list,” Kane said.

Some of the occupations under NAFTA are rarely used and don’t really reflect the technology skills of today’s professionals.

“There’s a whole series of professions that we didn’t think of, that didn’t exist in 1994 when NAFTA came into effect,” said Robertson.

 

Take a look inside Alberta’s only licensed medical… 2:41

As for Canadian employers luring U.S. talent, there’s no doubt Canada could stand to benefit from a Trump exodus, however small.

American celebrities who vowed to move to Canada if Trump won — such as Bryan Cranston who is also in favour of legalizing marijuana — could also find some work in British Columbia where the film and TV industry continues to thrive largely due to generous tax credits.

“Even if one per cent of those who said they were thinking of coming here did, it would not be insignificant,” Robertson said.

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Getting Ready fro Trump

Trump available to be persuaded by Trudeau’s team: observers

‘It won’t be a bromance,’ but there is potential for a constructive relationship, say analysts.

Canada-U.S. analysts Scotty Greenwood and Colin Robertson, pictured before testifying at Canada’s House Foreign Affairs Committee May 26, 2015. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

By CHELSEA NASH

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government can’t delay in establishing a relationship with president-elect Donald Trump if they want to advance Canada’s interests, say observers of Canada-United States politics. Donald Trump’s apparent lack of ideology will present an opportunity for the Trudeau team, says Scotty Greenwood, executive director of the Canadian American Business Council.

“He is a person who is available to be persuaded,” she told The Hill Times in an interview days after the man criticized for his racist policy proposals and misogynistic comments throughout the American election campaign was elected as the country’s 45th president. Ms. Greenwood, a former political appointee in the administration of former president Bill Clinton, added that Mr. Trump’s “inflamed rhetoric on the campaign trail” wasn’t directed at Canada, meaning there was still room for education and awareness-building about Canada and the importance of the relationship between the two countries.

Given Canada’s proximity to the United States, geographically and culturally, world leaders will be closely watching Mr. Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) and Mr. Trump’s first interactions to see how the prime minister establishes an early relationship, said former Canadian diplomat in the U.S. Colin Robertson. He suggested the dynamic of the first G7 meeting that includes the new president will be especially interesting for those wanting to know what a Trump presidency will look like.

 

Look beyond Trump and Trudeau

“It won’t be a bromance,” Mr. Robertson said, using the adjective that many used to describe the friendship between outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and Mr. Trudeau. Relationship building “starts at the top,” he added, though it can be just as important to reach out at other levels of government.

“Congress is what we put our focus on in the coming weeks,” Mr. Robertson said. New governors will have been elected as well, in state elections. It would be wise for Canada’s premiers to fly south this January to “get to know who the new players are. We can never have too many friends in the United States,” he said. For his part, Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball said while he has no immediate plans to travel to the U.S., he often meets with northeastern governors, and said he believes the “long-standing relationships” will prevail.

Between now and Mr. Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, it’s time for laying the groundwork. “Rather than sit back and wait, we should be actively engaged, putting forward, ‘Here’s where Canada’s coming from. Based on what we’ve read in your [broad-strokes] policy, [here’s] what we think, or are asking for clarification on,’” said Mr. Robertson.

Working closely with the transition team, too, will be critical. “My observation is that Trump…campaigned in very broad strokes, [and] now they’ll be filling in some of the detail” before his inauguration, after which he will be expected to put forward policy initiatives.

Louise Blais, Canada’s consul general in Atlanta, Georgia, tweeted on Nov. 10 a photo of her meeting with Newt Gingrich, rumoured to be a potential Trump cabinet member. “Good conversation on the great Canada-U.S. relationship [with] @newtgingrich #FriendsPartnersAllies,’ the tweet said.

While the election results were still coming in Tuesday evening, American Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman told The Hill Times that the way Mr. Trudeau and current President Barack Obama became friends was through “early interaction” in Mr. Trudeau’s mandate. He suggested the two government’s “take that playbook back out again.”

“What happened was there was an early interaction between the two, then we collectively worked together along with the president and the prime minister to identify the priorities of our two governments and then looked at where we can accomplish some real actions together,” he said.

But with a Republican president-elect like Mr. Trump, he and the Liberal, feminist, and environmentalist Mr. Trudeau don’t seem to be as natural a fit as Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Obama were.

For that reason, there will likely be more strategy in establishing relationships with the Trump administration rather than a natural formation of ties.

Speaking to reporters the day after the election last week, Mr. Trudeau emphasized areas where he perceived the two to have common ground, on appealing to voters on the economy. “The fact is we’ve heard clearly from Canadians and from Americans that people want a fair shot at success,” Mr. Trudeau told a stadium of youth at a WE Day event.

In a media conference call the day after the election, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton told reporters he had been reaching out to president-elect Trump “for some considerable amount of time.”

He said that about a month before the election, he had a long conversation with Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, “to discuss some of the things that already go on between Canada and the United States.”

The Alabama Senator was the first sitting Senator to endorse Mr. Trump for president, currently holds an executive position on his transition team, and is rumoured to be a contender for a cabinet position in the Trump administration.

He said that type of outreach will continue post-election.

 

Leverage influential Canadians

Foreign policy expert Fen Hampson, who is a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, said to be successful, it’s important to develop a personal relationship with Mr. Trump, and sooner rather than later, while also leveraging those who have existing relationships with the president-elect, such as Conrad Black.

Mr. Hampson said Canadian-born businessman Conrad Black has a relationship with Mr. Trump that dates back 15 years. He was also one of Trump’s biggest supporters throughout the campaign, unwavering in his prediction that Mr. Trump would win. He could be an asset to Canadian politicians hoping to convey a message or two to the 45th president of the United States.

“Mr. Trump doesn’t know Canada,” Mr. Hampson said. That’s why the Trudeau government needs to use the few prominent Canadians who know the real-estate mogul to advocate on its behalf, or at least remind Mr. Trump of Canada’s importance to the United States.

He also said it would be a good idea for Mr. Trudeau to visit Mr. Trump as soon as possible. He pointed to former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney as an example. He said Mr. Mulroney was “more or less in constant communication” with George H.W. Bush, developing a relationship before Mr. Bush became president and speaking on the phone with Mr. Bush on election night. He also spoke with Bill Clinton when he was president-elect twice before Mr. Clinton’s inauguration. Mr. Hampson said one of those calls was about NAFTA, which Mr. Clinton had reservations about at the time.

“Part of your negotiation strategy is to build networks of influence. It’s not just all about personality. It’s working the levers of aligned interests. There are levers in the U.S. that are aligned with us. When the going gets tough, things get kicked upstairs, and they do tend to land on the president’s desk,” Mr. Hampson explained.

cnash@hilltimes.com

@chels_nash

For the record

Reaction to Trump’s win

 

“Canada has no closer friend, partner, and ally than the United States. We look forward to working very closely with President-elect Trump, his administration, and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security.”

 

“The fact is, I think it’s important that we be open to talking about trade deals, NAFTA or any other trade deal…if the Americans want to talk about NAFTA, I’m more than happy to talk about it.”

 

“We’re going to work constructively together on this relationship, because that’s what people expect.”

—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

 

“The United States is, and will remain, Canada’s closest friend and ally. Our unique relationship has stood the test of nearly 150 years.”

—Official opposition and Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose

 

“I think it’s going to be very important for Mr. Trudeau to stand up to Mr. Trump. I think that when you see the type of sexist, racist statements that were made by Mr. Trump during the campaign those are things that we don’t want here in Canada.”

—NDP leader Tom Mulcair

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Trudeau et Trump

Experts urge Ottawa to strengthen ties with Mexico

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Speaking to the Senate foreign-affairs committee Thursday, Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said Canada must make every effort to strengthen its relationship with Mexico as Mr. Trump moves into the White House with his anti-trade policies and plans to build a wall along the Mexican border.

“If the worst happens and the United States does withdraw from NAFTA and does impose the punitive policies that we hear about towards Mexico, it does not benefit Canada at all to pull away from that relationship as well,” Ms. Dawson said.

Campbell Clark: Amid fear over Trump, Mexico could lose Canada as an ally

Read more: What’s at stake for Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in Trump’s new NAFTA

Opinion: What would Canada-U.S. trade relations look like without NAFTA?

Colin Robertson, a former diplomat and vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says that Mr. Trump’s election has been incredibly troublesome to Canada’s relationship with the U.S. and Mexico.

“The election of Donald Trump is proving, at least in the short term, as disruptive to Canada-U.S. relations and Canada-Mexico relations as 9/11,” Mr. Robertson said. “Strengthening the partnership with Mexico makes strategic sense for Canada.”

Mr. Robertson said the Liberal government’s decision to lift a visa requirement on Mexicans wishing to enter the country is a good first step to improving relations with Mexico, but more needs to be done.

He suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau make the relationship a priority by putting Mexico on his travel agenda for 2017 and bringing the premiers with him on the trip. He also suggested that Governor-General David Johnston visit Mexico with the presidents of various Canadian universities in an effort to encourage Mexican students to study in Canada.

Mr. Robertson said Canada can also boost trade with Mexico, regardless of whether Mr. Trump follows through with his with his anti-trade agenda. With Mr. Trump promising to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, essentially killing the trade deal without U.S. support, he said Canada and Mexico – both of which are signatories to the TPP – still have a chance to salvage parts of the TPP and the North American free-trade Agreement.

“If the United States were to pull out of NAFTA, NAFTA in fact remains in place between Canada and Mexico and I think that we should be looking at a number of the things we were going to be doing with the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and apply them, which we could do, to an updated Canada-Mexico agreement,” he said.

However, it appears Mr. Trump may be rethinking his campaign promise to pull out of NAFTA. In a 2½-minute video statement Monday where he unveiled his plans for his first 100 days in office, he did not mention NAFTA.

Ms. Dawson said Mr. Trump may change his tune on the trade deal once he hears the American business community’s reaction.

“Business was understandably silent during the U.S. election,” she said. “Now that we have a president-elect, I think business is going to be lined up down Pennsylvania Avenue explaining to the new administration how important trilateral supply chains are.”

In the case that the United States stays in NAFTA, Canada could use the opportunity to renegotiate parts of the massive trade deal to its benefit. Mr. Trudeau has already said Canada is more than happy to talk about trade deals, including NAFTA, if other countries want to reopen them.

Mr. Robertson said Canada would likely negotiate more professions onto the NAFTA mobility list and improved border access for Canadians entering the United States. On the American side, he suspects the United States would push for better protection of intellectual property.

In the meantime, Mr. Robertson said it’s time for the government to start re-educating the Canadian public on the importance of trade to the country.

“We stopped doing that in the mid-nineties and I think that’s a big mistake. I think we have to go back because Canada, of all the countries in the G8, we are really dependent on trade,” Mr. Robertson said.

Publié le 09 novembre 2016 à 23h06 | Mis à jour le 10 novembre 2016 à 09h03

Trudeau a discuté avec Trump

Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a dit s'être... (La Presse canadienne, Adrian Wyld)

Agrandir

Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a dit s’être entretenu, mercredi, avec Donald Trump, pour le féliciter de sa victoire électorale. Le cabinet du premier ministre a indiqué que M. Trudeau et le président désigné ont réaffirmé l’importance de la relation bilatérale entre le Canada et les États-Unis et ont discuté de divers dossiers d’intérêt commun.

Fannie Olivier

La Presse Canadienne
Ottawa

Plusieurs politiciens à Ottawa ont tenté de se faire rassurants au lendemain de l’élection de Donald Trump à la présidence des États-Unis.

Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau a dit s’être entretenu, mercredi, avec M. Trump, pour le féliciter de sa victoire électorale. Le cabinet du premier ministre a indiqué que M. Trudeau et le président élu ont réaffirmé l’importance de la relation bilatérale entre le Canada et les États-Unis et ont discuté de divers dossiers d’intérêt commun.

Le premier ministre a invité le président élu à effectuer une visite au Canada «à la première occasion», et ce dernier a lancé la même invitation au premier ministre, a-t-on affirmé.

M. Trudeau l’avait d’abord félicité par communiqué, insistant sur le fait que le Canada n’a pas d’ami, de partenaire ou d’allié plus proche que les États-Unis.

«Nous sommes impatients de travailler de très près avec le président élu, M. Trump, et avec son administration et le Congrès des États-Unis au cours des prochaines années, notamment sur les dossiers du commerce, de l’investissement ainsi que de la paix et de la sécurité internationales», a-t-il écrit. Selon M. Trudeau, la relation qui unit les deux pays est «un exemple pour le reste du monde».

Tout au long de la campagne américaine, M. Trudeau avait pris soin de ne pas révéler quel candidat il préférait même si ses affinités avec les démocrates ne font pas de doute, répétant religieusement qu’il laissait aux Américains le choix de désigner leur président. L’élection de M. Trump étant une surprise pour à peu près tout le monde, M. Trudeau doit se féliciter d’avoir fait preuve d’une telle réserve.

Le premier ministre a semblé aussi vouloir apaiser les craintes des Canadiens, alors que les positions de M. Trump sur une multitude de dossiers sont carrément à l’opposé des siennes.

Devant un groupe de jeunes réunis à Ottawa dans le cadre de l’événement «We Day», il les a incités à prendre cette élection du bon côté, alors qu’à ses yeux, Américains et Canadiens de la classe moyenne partagent le même objectif: réussir.

«Nous avons besoin d’avoir des gouvernements qui écoutent et qui répondent à ces inquiétudes et à ces espoirs. Alors nous allons travailler fort (…) ensemble, et je vais travailler avec l’administration du président élu Trump et avec tous les partenaires autour du monde pour m’assurer qu’on est en train de bâtir le monde meilleur que vous méritez», a-t-il lancé.

Partis d’opposition

Du côté de l’opposition officielle, on a aussi insisté sur la force de l’amitié entre les deux pays.

«Les États-Unis sont, et vont demeurer, l’allié et ami le plus proche du Canada. Nos relations uniques ont passé le cap des près de 150 ans», a écrit la chef conservatrice intérimaire Rona Ambrose dans un communiqué.

À mots couverts, elle a néanmoins fait part de ses préoccupations en affirmant qu’elle allait «demander des comptes au gouvernement canadien» sur «le règlement d’irritants commerciaux comme le conflit sur le bois d’?uvre», de même que pour le maintien d’un «solide programme de libre-échange avec la nouvelle administration américaine». Car au cours de la campagne, M. Trump a pris des positions très protectionnistes, allant jusqu’à affirmer qu’il voulait renégocier l’ALÉNA.

Mme Ambrose a également remis le dossier du pipeline Keystone XL sur la table, un projet d’oléoduc que le candidat républicain a promis d’approuver. «Le Parti conservateur du Canada presse le premier ministre de communiquer avec le président élu Trump le plus tôt possible et de faire de l’approbation de ce projet créateur d’emplois une priorité absolue», a-t-elle indiqué. Le pipeline du promoteur TransCanada avait été rejeté par l’administration de Barack Obama.

La députation conservatrice semblait divisée devant l’élection de M. Trump, certains élus l’accueillant avec circonspection, d’autres, comme la candidate à la chefferie Kellie Leitch, avec un enthousiasme débridé. Elle a soutenu que les Américains avaient «jeté dehors les élites» en élisant M. Trump et qu’il s’agissait là d’un «message excitant qui doit être livré au Canada également», a-t-elle écrit dans une lettre à ses partisans.

Quant au chef du Nouveau Parti démocratique (NPD) Thomas Mulcair, il n’a pas voulu répéter mercredi les mots qu’il prononçait la semaine dernière, soit que M. Trump «démontrait un comportement fasciste», affirmant néanmoins qu’il n’avait «jamais changé (son) opinion là-dessus.»

En mêlée de presse à Montréal, il a appelé M. Trudeau à se tenir debout devant M. Trump. «Quand vous voyez le type de commentaires sexistes et racistes qui ont été faits pendant la campagne, c’est le genre de chose que vous ne voulez pas au Canada», a fait valoir M. Mulcair.

Quoi, maintenant?

Même si les relations entre les États-Unis et le Canada sont là pour durer, elles seront assurément grandement bouleversées.

Déjà, l’ambassadeur canadien à Washington David MacNaughton a signalé mercredi que le Canada était disposé à rouvrir l’ALÉNA pour «l’améliorer».

«Nous sommes prêts à discuter, a avancé l’ambassadeur en conférence téléphonique. Nous pensons que l’accord tel qu’il est a bénéficié aux trois pays, mais je pense que n’importe quoi peut être amélioré, alors nous sommes ouverts à la discussion.»

Le chercheur Christophe Cloutier-Roy de la chaire Raoul-Dandurand croit d’ailleurs que le commerce risque d’être une pomme de discorde entre les deux gouvernements.

«C’est sûr que le point d’achoppement, ce qui va vraiment être compliqué, c’est toutes les questions relatives au commerce (…), a-t-il noté en entrevue. Mais c’est sûr que la relation d’amitié en tant que telle devrait survivre au passage de M. Trump à la Maison-Blanche.»

Selon l’ancien diplomate Colin Robertson, le commerce n’est pas le seul dossier sur lequel le Canada devra réviser ses positions. En entrevue, il a affirmé que M. Trudeau pourrait y penser deux fois avant d’imposer un prix sur le carbone au pays.

Il s’attend aussi à ce que M. Trump demande au Canada et à l’ensemble de ses alliés d’investir davantage en défense. «Vous pouvez être certains que M. Trump va soulever la question avec M. Trudeau», a-t-il souligné.

Au sud

Le président mexicain, Enrique Peña Nieto, a félicité… les États-Unis pour leurs élections, sans saluer directement la victoire de Donald Trump. M. Peña Nieto a réitéré mercredi sa volonté de collaborer avec M. Trump «au nom des relations bilatérales».

Le secrétaire mexicain au Trésor, Jose Antonio Meade, a précisé que le pays s’était préparé à de tels chocs financiers externes, comme il l’avait fait d’ailleurs pour le Brexit. Il a rappelé que la décision de la Réserve fédérale américaine sur les taux d’intérêt, en décembre prochain, pourrait aussi constituer un nouveau choc pour le Mexique.

M. Meade a indiqué mercredi aux journalistes que le pays n’avait pas l’intention pour l’instant de soutenir le peso, qui a perdu environ 9,5 % de sa valeur.

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What a Clinton or Trump Victory would mean for Canada

How a Clinton victory could affect Canada

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonDemocratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Laura Payton, Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer

@laura_payton

Published Monday, October 24, 2016 6:30AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 24, 2016 11:02AM EDT

It can be disconcerting for Canadians following the U.S. election to hear the candidates talk about renegotiating NAFTA or withholding NATO support unless members vastly increase their defence spending.

Given her decades in politics, it’s likely easier to predict what Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would do as president than Republican nominee Donald Trump.

CTVNews.ca breaks down the impact her policies could have on Canada, and how they compare to those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The economy

With $2.4 billion in goods and services exchanged every day between Canada and the U.S., the potential effect on the economy is likely the greatest concern for Canadian policymakers.

The North American Free Trade Agreement governs much of that business, with a dozen Pacific Rim countries looking to the possibility of an even more ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both deals have had a starring role in the debate about U.S. economic policy.

Clinton criticized NAFTA in her first run for the democratic nomination in 2007-08, and has been critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – after calling it the “gold standard” early in negotiations. But a leaked email released earlier this month through a campaign hacking suggests she’s warmer to free trade than she admits. In an excerpt from a 2013 speech to a Brazilian bank, Clinton says her “dream” is “a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”

Clinton’s private position more closely mirrors Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s position than do her public pronouncements. Trudeau – and U.S. President Barack Obama – both spoke strongly in favour of free trade during the North American Leaders’ Summit last June. Trudeau has frequently said export-intensive industries pay higher wages than non-export industries and that people benefit from free trade.

Canada-U.S. trade map CLINTON

SOURCE: Global Affairs Canada and RealClearPolitics.com, based on data from October 25, 2016. (Tahiat Mahboob)

Joy Nott, president of the Canadian Association of Importers & Exporters, says it’s not unusual to hear NAFTA or free trade come up during an election.

“The fact that NAFTA’s being discussed in a U.S. election: not new and not terribly unnerving because it’s been talked about a lot and then whoever is elected gets elected, and then they enter the White House, and NAFTA is never touched.”

Moreover, Nott points out, to change NAFTA, the president would need Congress behind him or her.

Clinton has proposed having a trade enforcer to make sure the detailed regulations are carefully followed and to punish any rulebreakers, but Nott said the U.S. has always enforced its rules pretty strictly.

“Could they potentially become more active in enforcing and auditing and that kind of stuff? Yeah, they could, but they’re already quite active in that area,” she said.

Former foreign affairs minister John Baird, however, sounded a more warning tone.

In an interview with Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play, Baird said Clinton supports a strong relationship with Canada, but Congress is increasingly protectionist.

“A more inward-looking landscape will make it really hard even for a President Clinton to tackle trade irritants where their predecessors might have been able to,” he said.

“You could see an increasingly protectionist tone from Washington that could reverberate around the world.”

Climate change

It’s hard to talk about Canada-U.S. economic issues without referring to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline extension, the permit for which President Barack Obama denied 11 months ago.

While then-secretary of state Clinton said in 2010 that she was inclined to approve the Keystone XL pipeline extension, she announced last fall that she had changed her mind and opposed it. It would likely be harder for her to revert back and approve it as president, analysts say, given the late-stage support she received from former rival Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton

“It might have been easier a year or two ago for her to endorse Keystone than it would be today,” said Mark Cameron, executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity.

“But after the election, particularly if the Republicans still control the Congress, it’s the kind of thing that you could possibly see a compromise occurring on.”

Clinton’s environment platform bears similarities to that proposed by Trudeau’s Liberal Party. Both discuss the need to invest in clean energy to create good-paying jobs, end subsidies to oil and gas companies, and limit emissions. Clinton is likely to maintain the course set by Obama on climate change, including implementing the clean power plan that’s currently making its way through American courts. Trudeau, meanwhile, promised to work with the U.S. and Mexico to “develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environmental agreement.”

Cameron says the clean power plan would look a lot like carbon pricing for the electricity sector, if it’s fully implemented.

“That would probably open up discussion about how Canada and the U.S. can cooperate more on carbon pricing,” said Cameron, who has political expertise as a staffer in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s office.

Defence

Despite serving as secretary of state in the Obama administration, Clinton is widely expected to take a stronger stance on foreign policy than the outgoing president. For those trying to read tea leaves, her time as secretary of state and her record as a public figure over the last 25 years suggest a President Clinton would probably be more interventionist than Obama has been, says Thomas Juneau, assistant professor of the University of Ottawa’s graduate school of public and international affairs.

Nato Allies Defence Spending

SOURCE: World Bank, Military expenditure (% of GDP) 2015. (Tahiat Mahboob)

“That means Syria, that means the Middle East as a whole and that means overall,” said Juneau, whose research focuses on the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region.

“As secretary of state she favoured a no-fly zone over certain parts of Syria. That’s a very, very complicated intervention,” he said. “What would the U.S. ask of its allies? What would Canada do, politically, diplomatically, militarily?”

While Clinton’s national security plan calls for an intensified coalition air campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Trudeau pulled Canadian fighter jets out of the mission. The Liberals instead increased the number of Canadian trainers and added three helicopters and an intelligence centre to the mission.

Canada could also face pressure to increase its defence spending – a call Obama made in person during a visit to Ottawa last June, but one Clinton would likely make more aggressively, Juneau said.

Canada currently spends one per cent of its GDP on its defence budget, although NATO countries have pledged to spend two per cent.

Still, Juneau says, “it’s a safe assumption that a Clinton presidency would be more consistent with most Canadian interests than a Trump one.”

How a Trump victory could affect Canada

Donald Trump Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Delaware County Fair, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Delaware, Ohio. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Laura Payton, Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer

@laura_payton

Published Monday, October 24, 2016 6:30AM EDT

In a presidential race with its fair share of jaw-dropping pronouncements, it’s hard to choose just a few. But for Canadian officials, a handful of Donald Trump’s statements stand out.

The political neophyte has promised to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement and throw it out if he doesn’t get what he wants, get tough on America’s NATO allies and increase coal production in the face of a world moving increasingly to clean energy.

All of these policies would have a dramatic impact on Canada. CTVNews.ca compares his policies to those of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and breaks down the impact they could have.

The economy

Without a history of public service, it’s difficult to judge how closely Trump would stick to his promises. But Trump has said plenty that would raise concerns for Canadian policymakers.

The Republican nominee opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between a dozen Pacific Rim countries, including Canada. He also says he’d tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump’s main targets are Mexico and China, but observers say Canada would be collateral damage if he starts to torpedo trade deals.

Trump’s avowed protectionism runs counter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vocal support for more free trade, and would surely lead to tension between the two countries.

It’s not unusual for Americans running for president to campaign as protectionists: both Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama criticized NAFTA during their 2008 races, but Obama didn’t push to reopen NAFTA once he was in the White House. The question is whether Trump would follow through, and how.

Canada-U.S. trade map TRUMP

SOURCE: Global Affairs Canada and RealClearPolitics.com, based on data from October 20, 2016. (Tahiat Mahboob)

There is a measure in NAFTA that would let one signatory provide six months notice and then withdraw, says Daniel Kiselbach, a partner at Deloitte Tax Law LLP, but it’s likely not as simple as that. While the U.S. president signs trade deals, it’s up to Congress to pass the legislation that makes it law.

“At least one U.S. constitutional lawyer has said you just can’t withdraw by withdrawing from the treaty,” Kiselbach said.

“The president has to respect the enabling legislation unless and until Congress has repealed it.”

That means Congress would have to be on board. And, while former foreign affairs minister John Baird has raised the alarm about increasing protectionism in Congress, the president of the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters says she’s not worried yet.

“There’s no sense at this point in time that, whether it be Hillary Clinton that wins the White House or Donald Trump … that the House would necessarily go along with what they’re thinking,” Joy Nott said in an interview with CTV News.

Canada, in fact, is the top export destination for 35 states – a market they’d be at risk of losing if a president withdrew from NAFTA. A move to ditch NAFTA would likely result in American importers taking the U.S. government to court, Kiselbach said, but it’s hard to know exactly what would happen since there’s almost no precedent.

“The last time the U.S. withdrew from a trade agreement was 1866,” Kiselbach said.

Even if quitting NAFTA isn’t in the cards, former diplomat Colin Robertson says Trump can find other ways to make life difficult for Canadian exporters. That includes having the U.S. trade representative and Department of Commerce initiate trade actions.

“That would have a chilling effect on investment in Canada,” said Robertson, vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Climate change

When it comes to climate change, there’s little similarity between Trump’s and Trudeau’s positions. Trump once tweeted that global warming “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” while Trudeau campaigned on the need for tougher regulations and a price on carbon. Trudeau has since maintained the targets pledged under the previous government, but announced he’ll impose a carbon tax in 2018 on any province or territory that doesn’t price carbon on its own.

Donald Trump

According to Mark Cameron, executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity, the question for a Trump presidency would be: can he undo some of the measures Obama has brought in? That includes Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is currently working its way through the American courts.

“He’s taken some pretty strong stands against climate policy,” Cameron said.

“There are some people on his environmental advisory group …who have taken pretty extreme stands,” he added. “So I think they would try to unravel things. I’m just not sure that they would be able to dismantle everything that’s been done already.”

Trump has also promised to boost the coal industry, while Trudeau talks of clean energy.

One area on which Trudeau and Trump could agree is a re-do of the Keystone XL pipeline decision. Trudeau supports the pipeline extension, which U.S. President Barack Obama vetoed last fall. Trump says he would approve the pipeline extension, but wants “a piece of the profits” to “make our country rich again.”

Robertson says that argument wouldn’t get Trump very far. Canadian officials would privately remind the White House that the U.S. now has pipelines running north, nevermind a supply of shale gas they’re exporting north.

“Do you want us to put a tariff on the 30 pipelines running north?” Robertson predicts the discussion would go.

“So I think that his claim on this one could be easily rebutted and put in perspective. Energy flows both ways now.”

Defence

Among Trump’s proposals is a threat to withhold American military support from NATO if its partner countries don’t meet their targeted defence spending. All NATO countries pledged to devote two per cent of their GDP to their defence budgets, but Canada is among the countries that don’t hit that target – something noted by Obama when he was in Ottawa last June.

Nato Allies Defence Spending

SOURCE: World Bank, Military expenditure (% of GDP) 2015. (Tahiat Mahboob)

Not backing up a NATO partner would be a dramatic move.

“Some of the statements he’s made question the very basic raison d’etre of NATO. When he questioned whether he would actually come to the defence of NATO members under aggression by Russia, nobody has ever done that in the history of NATO at that level,” said Thomas Juneau, assistant professor of the University of Ottawa’s graduate school of public and international affairs.

But would he follow through? Trump’s unorthodox style and lack of political experience make his proposals difficult to plan for, Juneau says.

“The thing with Trump is, we don’t know what he thinks. He has been so inconsistent on everything, and specifically on foreign and defence policy,” he said.

“If I were an American senior official in the national security apparatus, I’d be freaking out at the possibility of a Trump presidency just because it would be so unpredictable at every level.”

Trump’s NATO comments drew a mild rebuke by Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who said they weren’t helpful. The sentiment behind them certainly contradicts Trudeau’s pronouncements on how Canada should “re-engage” with the world as he promoted his international visits and attendance at global summits. While his government believes in working with allies and communicating with foes, Trump’s campaign rhetoric is about doing the opposite.

Still, Juneau says there are too many variables to assume a Trump presidency would mean the end of NATO.

“That’s so hypothetical that I wouldn’t go there that fast,” he said. “For me, the point is that, at this point, the uncertainty is what we have to plan for.”

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Canada and Mexico

 

Why Canada should work to strengthen its ties to Mexico

Colin Robertson, The Globe and Mail, October 14, 2016

The Trudeau Government should prioritize its strategic partnership with Mexico. The June visit of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa set a plan for closer collaboration. Both nations need to deliver on specific initiatives, especially those that emphasize our people-to-people ties.

The signature of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) established a framework through which we have become each other’s third-largest trading partner. It is built largely through the investment of Canadian banking and resource industries in Mexico and through continental supply chains in manufacturing industries. Together, we make planes, trains and automobiles.

With a 44 million strong middle class, Mexico’s market will only increase. By 2050, Mexico is expected to rank fifth in global economic weight.

There is no shortage of collaborative instruments. The Canada-Mexico Partnership, with its private-public membership, has been in place since 2004. Its agenda covers the waterfront: energy; agri-business; labour mobility; human capital; trade, investment and innovation; environment; mining; forestry; and recently we have commenced annual security discussions.

With the election of the Trudeau government, we have developed a common North American approach to climate.

And, last December, after collaborating at the World Trade Organization, we persuaded Congress to roll back the protectionist US country-of-origin labelling requirement that threatened both of our country’s meat exports into the USA.

Canadians have begun once more their annual migration south. More than two million Canadians spend over 22 million nights in Mexico, making it our second most popular destination after the USA.

But despite the declared ambition and collaborative framework, the relationship seems less than the sum of its parts. The arbitrary imposition of a visa in July, 2009 offended Mexicans. It damaged the vital people-to-people ties that underwrite lasting relationships.

Mexicans stopped coming to Canada, complaining that the information required for the visa was excessive, intrusive and the processing time too long. Tourism and student study from Mexico sank. Mexican investors looked elsewhere. Today, we get more visitors from South Korea and Australia than Mexico, even though those flights are at least three times as long.

The visa will be replaced in December with the much-delayed Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) system.

In anticipation of this change, the Trudeau government should work with the provinces to aggressively market student study in Canada.

We have more than 400 interinstitutional agreements and Canada’s International Education Strategy identifies Mexico as a priority market. What is missing is Mexican students; there are only 5,000 among the 200,000 foreign students in Canada.

To give the initiative momentum, why not have Governor-General David Johnston lead a group of Canadian university presidents to Mexico to promote joint study opportunities and co-operation in innovation? Mr. Johnston, a former university president, represented Canada at the inauguration of Mr. Pena Nieto and recently played host to him in Quebec City.

High-level visits are catalysts for action. Justin Trudeau should also put Mexico on his travel agenda for 2017. Why not make it a trade and investment mission with the premiers?

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, that effectively updates NAFTA, will depend on whether U.S. President Barack Obama can secure its congressional approval during the lame-duck session. To prepare, we should be discussing with Mexico what provisions we can jointly salvage and make bilateral, to our mutual benefit.

Mexican ministers are making regular visits to the United States to make the case for continental trade and the jobs they create. Canadian ministers should join them.

As the Trudeau government contemplates a renewal of Canadian involvement in peace operations, it should look first to the challenges in our own hemisphere.

Citing its “global responsibilities,” Mr. Pena Nieto has committed Mexico to peace operations. Helping Mexico with training of peace troops would be a useful contribution as we increase our own participation.

Last week’s failed referendum on a peace pact in Colombia will oblige renewed efforts to end the more than half century conflict that has displaced 6.7 million Colombian citizens. Canada and Mexico should pursue the talks begun earlier this year on a possible joint peacekeeping role.

Can we also help Mexico with its southern frontier problems as a result of the continuing turmoil in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador?

Both governments need to pick shared initiatives on which we can achieve tangible results. Success will develop more trust and create a better basis for a shared approach when dealing with the new U.S. administration.

Over the years, the Canada-Mexico story has resembled a spasmodic series of tango-like bursts of intensity followed by long siestas. This time, let’s keep the dance going and put the emphasis on our people-to-people ties.

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US Elcction and Canada as target

Canada leery of protectionist U.S. campaign

Posted

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The Canadian embassador to Washington says the Republicans’ and Democrats’ tough stand on trade is concerning

OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canadian diplomats are fanning out across the United States to talk up the benefits of trade with state and local leaders and counter what senior officials see as a worrying mood of protectionism swirling through the U.S. election campaign.

Amid voter anger about the supposed harm done by international trade deals, both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton have talked about altering the North American Free Trade Agreement. That could have calamitous results for Canada, which sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

From trade forums in Kentucky, California and Illinois addressing state legislators and small-business owners to meetings with mayors, labour unions and interest groups, a team of diplomats has gone coast to coast to explain how important Canada is as a trading partner.

The diplomatic offensive comes amid concerns in Ottawa about both candidates, who opinion polls show are in a tight race ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Trump has talked about renegotiating the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico to secure more favourable terms for the U.S.

However, he has also said he would revive TransCanada Corp’s cross-border Keystone XL pipeline project, which Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration blocked over environmental concerns. Clinton has said she opposes Keystone XL.

Current and former government officials in Ottawa said a Clinton presidency posed its own challenges for Canada.

They see the Democrat as tough on trade and more hawkish than Obama, who quickly struck up a warm relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

While tough talk on trade has occurred in previous U.S. election campaigns, “there is an undercurrent and a mood here which is concerning me,” said David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to Washington.

MacNaughton, who took up the job in March, has already visited Denver, Colorado Springs and Boston and plans trips to Massachusetts, Michigan and California.

An embassy spokesperson said diplomats were intensifying their outreach effort and doing more events than usual. At every meeting, they hand out tip sheets showing Canada is the top export destination for 35 U.S. states and that nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada.

Trudeau will not say which candidate he favours, stressing he is happy to work with whomever U.S. voters elect. However, his Liberals have more policies in common with U.S. Democrats. Elected last October, he and Obama have become close, exchanging visits to each other’s countries.

“Some of the issues that we are going to be facing will be very much the same regardless of who wins,” MacNaughton said.

“I think we have to prepare to deal with some pretty difficult situations on the trade front.”

Some Americans had little idea about the size of the U.S. trading relationship with Canada, he added.

Roland Paris, who served as Trudeau’s foreign policy adviser until late June, said Trump had tapped into some strong anti-trade sentiment.

“Those feelings aren’t going away any time soon,” he said.

“We may be heading into some protectionist headwinds, even with a Hillary Clinton presidency.”

Trump and Clinton also oppose a proposed Pacific trade deal that could benefit Canada.

One person with day-to-day knowledge of the U.S.-Canada trade file also predicted strains over Canadian exports of softwood lumber, as well as Canada’s system of protection for its dairy industry, which U.S. producers strongly dislike.

Another potential area for concern is Canada’s defence spending, which is .98 percent of gross domestic product, far below the two percent commitment agreed on by NATO members.

MacNaughton said that in his talks with Republicans and Democrats, both had raised the issue of “U.S. allies stepping up to the plate” in military terms.

Trump stirred concerns among allies and even some Republicans earlier this year by saying he would decide whether to come to the aid of Baltic NATO allies in the event of Russian aggression only after reviewing if they “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

Former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson, who had several postings in the U.S., also predicted hard discussions with Clinton administration officials over defence.


“We will be circled because we are at .98 percent,” said Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.


That may not sit well with Trudeau’s government, which is pledging to run large budget deficits for at least the next five years to fund investment in infrastructure and social programs.

A government source said Canada had taken part in a number of high-profile NATO missions and was ready to push back on de-mands to increase spending in the military.

“We’re quite prepared and proud to stand up on our record and explain why there might be a discrepancy between numbers … and our actual contribution,” said the source, who asked not to be identified given the sensitivity of the topic.

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Canada and Iran

Release of jailed Canadian a sign Liberals making progress in relations with Iran

Marie-Danielle Smith | September 26, 2016 9:02 PM ET

OTTAWA — While Montreal Professor Homa Hoodfar was still imprisoned in Iran, Canadian and Iranian officials held several meetings this summer to negotiate the re-establishment of diplomatic relations, according to a source close to the Foreign Ministry.

Though impasses remain, some experts say Hoodfar’s release on Monday is a sign the Liberal government is making progress on a promise to reopen channels cut off when the previous Conservative government severed ties with Iran in 2012.

In the meetings, officials discussed irritants that could hinder progress. Iranians highlighted the Conservative-era Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which allows “victims of terrorism” to sue foreign governments labelled as state sponsors of terrorism — an issue that proved a “show-stopper” in negotiations, the source said.

Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, who said earlier this year he has no intention of taking Iran off that list, met his Iranian counterpart for the first time at UN General Assembly meetings last week.

At the meeting, Dion brought up the cases of the imprisoned Iranian-Canadian professor and the children of Alison Azer, who were taken to Iran by their father more than a year ago.

Oman News Agency via AP

Oman News Agency via APRetired Iranian-Canadian professor Homa Hoodfar, left, speaks to the media in Muscat airport, Oman, after being released by Iranian authorities, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016While Azer’s plight continues, Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA reported Monday that the 65-year-old professor had been freed on humanitarian grounds and flown out of the country.

Margie Mendell, a Concordia professor and close friend, said Hoodfar’s niece, Amanda Ghahremani, met her in Oman, the first stop on her journey home.

“She’s very frail, she looks extremely thin … and very worn,” Mendell said of a report she received. “I suspect that she’s not in good health, but she’s free, she’s free and she’s out of Iran and she will get medical care and her medication.”

Hoodfar suffers from a serious neurological condition and her family had said requests for a check-up by an independent specialist doctor while jailed were ignored.

She was arrested and sent to Tehran’s Evin prison on June 6. The exact reasons for her detention were never made public but her family and colleagues have indicated she ran afoul of Iranian authorities due to her research on homosexuality and women’s sexuality in the context of Muslim countries.

Nader Hashemi, a Canadian professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Denver, said he thinks the timing of her release is not a coincidence.

Jacques Boissinot/CP

Jacques Boissinot/CPForeign Minister Stéphane Dion

“I suspect that now the prospects of diplomatic relations are much better today than they were yesterday,” Hashemi said Monday. “This was, I think, a condition that Ottawa placed before Iran.”

A statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government had been “actively and constructively engaged at the highest levels” in Hoodfar’s case. The statement confirmed Canada worked with officials from countries with embassies in Tehran, including Oman, Italy and Switzerland.

“The government of Canada is committed to a step-by-step re-engagement with Iran. Engagement is a tougher path but a necessary one to deal more effectively with Middle East security issues and to hold Iran to account on human rights,” said Kristine Racicot, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada.

Not all are convinced that this is a step in the right direction.

The Iranians still have “a great deal of explaining to do” with regards to Hoodfar’s imprisonment, said Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent.

“I don’t want to speculate, but my gut tells me it has more to do with them not wanting to have yet another death that they can’t explain on their hands,” he said, a theory Hashemi also mentioned since recent reports indicated Hoodfar’s health was deteriorating.

“We are highly skeptical of any talks that may be going on at the moment,” he said, adding that based on Iran’s behaviour, “we believe that any discussions with the regime are of no value.”

Former diplomat Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said for Canadian consular cases, “it’s better to be there.”

“We’ve got a lot of Canadians who would be considered dual nationals, and if you’re not there, you can’t protect their interests,” he said of putting Canadian officials in Tehran.

“This government has put a priority on people, and that would probably be something that was underlined in the feelers that were probably put out — that before we can move forward, we’ve got to see evidence of better behaviour.”

Still, this is going to be “more of a waltz rather than a quick tango,” Robertson said.

Peter Jones, associate professor at the University of Ottawa, noted that while the Iranian foreign ministry is “keen to re-establish relations” with Canada, its intelligence services and the Revolutionary Guard are much less eager.

A cautious step forward could be to accredit ambassadors in neighbouring countries, Jones said, who’d be able to visit Iran and work on Canadians’ consular cases without having to open an embassy.

Even that would be a boon for Alison Azer, whose four children were kidnapped to Iran by their father more than a year ago.

“One of the problems with Alison’s case is there is no diplomatic representation in Tehran to pursue the grievances and the problems that Canadian citizens have,” Hashemi said. “Up until now she’s had the door frozen shut.”

In a statement to the National Post Monday, Azer said she was happy to learn of Hoodfar’s release. “This demonstrates what diplomacy from the highest levels of government can accomplish,” she said.

“Today’s news gives me cautious optimism I will be reunited with my four beautiful children soon.”

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On Results of the China Trip and G20

NEW PODCAST: ‘THE GLOBAL EXCHANGE’
Post-G20 Discussion: Trudeau and China

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For Immediate Release

6 September 2016 – Ottawa, ON

On today’s ‘Global Exchange’ Podcast, host Colin Robertson looks at last weekend’s ‘Group of 20’ Summit in Hangzhou, China. Join Colin for a discussion with four experts in international relations – Rob Wright, Randolph Mank, Hugh Stephens, and Marius Grinius – as they look to identify the significance and impact of the most recent G20, along with the importance of Trudeau’s visit to China preluding the Summit.

What does China’s increased role international affairs mean for Canada? What did we get out of Trudeau’s visit to China, and at the G20? Does Canada have a role to play at summits such as the G20? All this and more are discussed on this weeks episode of ‘The Global Exchange’.

Bios:

  • Colin Robertson (host) A former Canadian diplomat, Colin Robertson is Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a Senior Advisor to Dentons LLP.
  • Rob Wright – served as Canadian Ambassador to China from 2005-2009. He served as Ambassador to Japan from 2001-2005.
  • Randolph Mank – a three-time former Canadian ambassador and businessman, with over thirty years of experience in Asia and around the world.
  • Hugh Stephens – Executive-in-Residence at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Vice Chair of the Canadian Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation.
  • Marius Grinius – joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1979 after serving in the Canadian Army for 12 years. His early overseas postings included Bangkok, NATO/Brussels and Hanoi. Assignments back in Ottawa included desk officer for nuclear arms control, Director for Asia Pacific South and then Director for South East Asia.

Book Recommendations:

Related Links:

Canada playing ‘long game’ on China as it tries to counter protectionism in the global economy

Marie-Danielle Smith | September 6, 2016 1:21 PM ET
More from Marie-Danielle Smith

Justin Trudeau answers a question from Bloomberg Television anchor Angie Lau during a Canada-Hong Kong business luncheon, held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, during his visit to Hong Kong on September 6, 2016.

Anthony Wallace / AFP / Getty ImagesJustin Trudeau answers a question from Bloomberg Television anchor Angie Lau during a Canada-Hong Kong business luncheon, held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, during his visit to Hong Kong on September 6, 2016.

HONG KONG — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up his first official visit to China Tuesday with another push for close co-operation, including on human rights, and for openness and inclusiveness in the global economy.

“The kinds of anxieties we’re seeing around the world as people are closing in are going to leave us all poorer and worse off,” he said in Hong Kong Tuesday, expanding on messages Canada brought to the G20 table Sunday and Monday.

“There are not as many bright spots in terms of growth and openness and trade as we’d like to see around the world.”

Though it has yet to be ratified, one example could be the Canada-EU trade agreement, as election rhetoric in the U.S. could leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal dead in the water.

During his tour, Trudeau tried to make the case that the relationship between Canada and China could be another such bright spot.

In Beijing, finance minister Bill Morneau signalled Canada’s intent to apply for membership in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, joining other countries such as the U.K. and Australia. (The United States is not a an AIIB member.)

 

Trudeau downplays chance of protectionist rise in Canada 2:00

And in Shanghai, trade minister Chrystia Freeland signed $1.2 billion worth of commercial deals with Chinese corporations, followed by another series of signings in Hong Kong Tuesday. A foreign investment promotion and protection agreement with Hong Kong also went into force.

In Hangzhou, just before the G20 summit got underway, Trudeau launched a Canadian pavilion on Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platform. It was, Canadian businesspeople said on Saturday, a positive way to reach more of the Chinese consumer market.

Trudeau’s high-level meetings with Chinese leadership showed strong support for trade and investment on both sides.

A spat over Chinese restrictions on Canadian canola — which Global Affairs Canada fellow Colin Robertson said was “China showing its muscle and trying to intimidate us” — was temporarily resolved amid further negotiation.

AP Photo / Vincent Yu

AP Photo / Vincent Yu Trudeau speaks with scouts at the Sai Wan war cemetery in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.

Addressing concerns in Canada, Trudeau strengthened his language on human rights Tuesday, appearing more relaxed in Hong Kong on the last day of his visit. He said he didn’t see a trade-off between human rights and a closer economic relationship.

“I think you have to talk fully and frankly about human rights and engage and talk about the challenges that need to be faced,” Trudeau said.

He added that in talks with Chinese leaders, he raised the example of a scathing 2014 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada.

I don’t think it means any less of us that we recognize that there is still work to do, and that was the tenor of the conversations I had with the Chinese leadership

“I don’t think it means any less of us that we recognize that there is still work to do, and that was the tenor of the conversations I had with the Chinese leadership.”

This is all part of a “long game,” according to Roland Paris, Trudeau’s first international adviser who now teaches at the University of Ottawa. Trudeau, Paris said, is setting a positive tone to Canada’s inevitable relationship with the world’s second-biggest economy.

According to Chinese sources and social media, Trudeau remains a popular figure in China. The prime minister’s celebrity, even if often focused on his appearance, “gives Canada more attention,” Robertson said, “which thus far is almost uniformly positive.”

The fact China hosted Canada in the busy lead-up to the G20 was a strong sign of “the importance that the Chinese put on their relationship with Canada,” said Paris.

Paris rejected suggestions that Canada is pivoting away from the U.S. by joining the AIIB. “The United States will remain our principal partner, trading partner and ally just by virtue of geography,” he said. He added that the U.S. is beating Canada in the race to capitalize on trade with Asia — something Canada “can’t afford not to pursue.”

At the economy-focused G20 summit, Trudeau wasn’t in the spotlight and didn’t hold many bilateral meetings, though he did meet with new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

The failure of the U.S. and Russia to reach a deal on Syria stole significant attention at the summit, but Trudeau avoided commenting on the issue.

Still, in the context of the G20’s economic focus, Paris said the prime minister showed himself to be “one of the world’s leading voices for openness and inclusion and against protectionism and discrimination and xenophobia and building walls.” Trudeau, Paris said, offered a “full-throated” defence of small-l liberal values to other leaders.

With careful language around issues sensitive to China, including the South China Sea and the results of a legislative vote in Hong Kong that saw some young pro-democracy candidates elected, Trudeau appeared to want to protect a friendly start to his relationship with Chinese leadership.

And Trudeau will have an unusually short time to prepare for his next encounter with the economic giant — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is expected to travel to Ottawa in mid-September.

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