Midterms Commentary coverage

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excerpts from Campbell Clark Globe and Mail With new Congress, Canada can expect trade, border flare-ups

“It was not the Republican Party we’ve known in the past. I think that’s Tea Party influence,” said Colin Robertson, a fellow with the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, and a former Canadian diplomat in Washington. “And the Democrats who are left are now very much beholden to the unions.”

He expects to see cross-border trade disputes over issues such as lumber and agriculture, fuelled perhaps by industries that will soon lose stimulus-bill subsidies and seek trade protection instead.

For decades, the Canadian strategy to counter U.S. protectionism and post-9/11 border blockages was to pull Americans closer with new deals to increase co-operation on trade or at the border.

Reciprocity will be the buzzword, Mr. Robertson argues, and Canada will have to come up with a broad strategy to sell its interests in the United States, or see them chipped away one by one.

Excerpted from Mike Blanchfield Canadian Press Alberta’s dirty oil image cleaned by U.S. midterms in Toronto Star

Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat who served in Washington, said special interests groups will still keep up their lobbying efforts against “dirty oil” while the Obama administration tries to tackle the issue through federal regulations rather than getting Congress to pass new laws. But he added: “Climate change legislation is dead for now and this puts back into the box the border levy on ‘dirty oil.’”

Excerpted from Juliet O’Neill Postmedia News GOP tide expected to wash across Canadian trade

Experts noted Obama’s signal that the administration’s battle against carbon now will shift from the legislative to the regulatory front where Democrats are waging battle with Republicans over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s powers over industrial polluters. “What they can’t do through legislation, the administration will try to do through regulation,” said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat who specializes in Canada-U.S. affairs.

While the record suggests Republicans are less protectionist than Democrats in terms of traditional trade barriers, Canada has faced a decade of border management issues with the United State that are in some cases — such as clogged border crossings — tantamount to trade barriers.

“For us, the border stuff won’t get any easier as the GOP (Republicans) puts big emphasis on ‘security’ and enforcement — it’s a basic piece in the Pledge to America,” said Robertson, citing the frequently resurgent myth, resurrected during the midterm election campaign, that terrorists travel to the U.S. via a porous Canadian border.