“I fear that the NAFTA re-negotiation is going very badly,” says Harper.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is ripping the Trudeau government for their handling of NAFTA negotiations, saying Trudeau is “napping on NAFTA.”
Harper’s remarks were included in a memo first obtained by the Canadian Press.
Here’s part of what Harper said:
“I fear that the NAFTA re-negotiation is going very badly. I also believe that President (Donald) Trump’s threat to terminate NAFTA is not a bluff… I believe this threat is real. Therefore, Canada’s government needs to get its head around this reality: it does not matter whether current American proposals are worse than what we have now. What matters in evaluating them is whether it is worth having a trade agreement with the Americans or not.”
Harper says the Trudeau government was too quick to reject U.S. demands, and is acting as if Trump isn’t serious about actually ending NAFTA – which Harper sees as a big mistake.
The Trudeau government linked themselves too closely to Mexico, which Harper calls a big strategic mistake since Trump’s election campaign’s NAFTA complaints were almost universally focused on Mexico, not Canada. Said Harper, “How did we get ourselves in this position?… The elephant is Mexico… In fact, the U.S. is both irked and mystified by the Liberals’ unwavering devotion to Mexico.”
It’s a great point by Harper, as Mexico has stolen thousands of auto manufacturing jobs with their cheap labour policies. There’s no reason for Canada to be standing in “solidarity” with Mexico.
Harper also criticized the government for their virtue-signalling on politically correct issues, saying “Did anyone really think that the Liberals could somehow force the Trump administration into enacting their agenda — union power, climate change, aboriginal claims, gender issues? But while the Canadian government was doing that, the Americans have been laying down their real demands.”
Finally, Harper points out that Trudeau blew a chance to get the softwood lumber taken care of by supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (under the Obama admin), and says the subsidies given by the government led to the tariffs against Bombardier.
A serious voice criticizing a foolish government
Harper certainly wasn’t a perfect leader, but nobody doubts that he is serious and approaches things in a serious and analytical way – exactly what Canada needs at a time like this.
Everybody also knows the Trudeau government would rather play political games instead of dealing seriously with tough issues. Trudeau has put virtue signalling ahead of serious negotiations, and has taken the worst possible approach.
Trudeau has shown neither the resolve or willingness to defend Canada’s interests by being willing to walk away from NAFTA if necessary (a toughness that American negotiators would respect), while also trying to get America to agree to things they never will.
Furthermore, Trudeau has failed to prepare Canada’s economy for the possible end of NAFTA, which he could have done by slashing regulations, eliminating the carbon tax, imposing tariffs in select areas, protecting Canadian ownership, and providing an economic stimulus through building up the military, along with giving middle class and working class Canadians a massive tax cut paid for by slashing the bureaucracy.
As a result, the Trudeau government has put Canada in an incredibly vulnerable situation, and Harper is right to be concerned about it, as all Canadians should be.