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Bugs





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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:46 am    Post subject: Harper on the NAFTA negotiations Reply with quote

Well, well, look at this ... a memo from our ex-PM seems to be providing more effective opposition to the Liberal juggernaut than our new leader ... what's his name? (Bolding has been added.)


Quote:
‘Napping on NAFTA’: Harper blasts Trudeau government handling of negotiations
By Alexander Panetta — Oct 27 2017

WASHINGTON — Stephen Harper has expressed alarm over his successor's handling of NAFTA negotiations with the United States, with the former prime minister declaring the negotiations in real peril in a memo titled, "Napping on NAFTA."

The memo was obtained by The Canadian Press and it criticizes the Trudeau government in several areas: For too quickly rejecting U.S. proposals, for insisting on negotiating alongside Mexico, and for promoting progressive priorities like labour, gender, aboriginal and environmental issues.

The former prime minister says he was worried by what he heard during a recent trip to Washington, where he discussed NAFTA at an event but did not publicly share his misgivings about the Trudeau government.

"I came back alarmed," said the Oct. 25 letter signed by Harper, and sent to clients of his firm Harper & Associates.

"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."

The current government was not pleased by the letter.

Officials in Ottawa accused the former prime minister of essentially negotiating in public — against the government of Canada. They called the release of the two-page note ill-timed and perplexing.

"This is a gift to the Americans," said one current Canadian official.

"There's nothing Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer (from the trump administration) want to see more than prominent Canadians standing up to suggest making concessions to the Americans. Make no mistake: Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer will be very happy with this letter."

The memo accuses the Canadian government of stubbornness on several fronts.

First, it suggests Canada has been too quick in rejecting American proposals as a "red line," or "poison pill."
He said such knee-jerk refusals are only a viable strategy if you truly believe Trump cannot cancel NAFTA — an assessment Harper does not share.

Second, he suggests the government made a tactical error by co-operating too closely with Mexico. He says Trump campaigned on constant complaints about Mexico, not Canada, and Harper appears to suggest it was unwise of the Liberals to insist upon renegotiating a trilateral NAFTA: "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."

Third, he criticizes the Liberals for pursuing their progressive trade policies in these talks:
"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, he accuses the Liberals of bungling other disputes over lumber and airplanes. Harper says the Liberals passed up on a chance to renew the softwood lumber agreement in exchange for supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he says their subsidies to Bombardier set the stage for huge tariffs today.

The Liberals say that last point about softwood lumber is based on a falsehood.

They say there was never a softwood settlement on the table, and that claims to the contrary are wrong. As for the progressive trade agenda, they point to recent polls showing that improved labour and environmental standards in NAFTA are exceptionally popular in the U.S., and they say some of these provisions could help win crucial ratification votes from Democrats to actually get an eventual deal through the U.S. Congress.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland scoffed at Harper's missive.

"We will continue to defend Canadian interests," Freeland tweeted on Friday night. "Capitulation is not a negotiating strategy."

Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press
https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/10/27/napping-on-nafta-harper-blasts-trudeau-government-handling-of-negotiations-2/#.WfSUOmhSzIV


The contrast between our old PM and our new one is clear. Harper's point on allying with Mexico for these negotiations was just a plainly stupid move. No other way to put it.

Sadly, it's also a contrast with his replacement.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The former Prime Minister isn't really saying anything that hasn't been said by many before.

There is a reason as to why the Progressive Conservative and Conservative Governments negotiated:

Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement - NAFTA
Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement
Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (EU)
Trans-Pacific Partnership

With CARICOM, India, and Japan in process prior to the 2015 Election

Whereas Liberal Governments have negotiated

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement
Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement

With the current government certainly having issues closing off CETA which was left for them at the goal line when they entered office

And are in the process of potentially botching NAFTA and the TPP at present.

There is clearly a different Philosophy between Conservatives (In General) and Liberals (In General) as it pertains to the views and negotiations pertaining to free trade and the agreement that grow from the desire to grow your market.

To my best recollection, none of the agreements signed from 2006 - 2015 were negotiated in public as much as I have seen with the tail end of CETA and now with NATFA.

The grandstanding for the purpose of placating various friendly groups didn't exist in the same manner and that appears to be the largest difference. The need to get a jointly beneficial agreement done seems to take a backseat for the benefit of a sound-byte or an opportunity to make some political hay.

Governance and Political affiliations aside;
I cannot imagine that in a one time only situation the majority of Canadians would rather have Justin Trudeau and his team re-negotiation NAFTA or the Previous Prime Minister and his team.

On this issue the Liberals have not historically proven strong or overly effective and we are seeing why.


Last edited by cosmostein on Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
Bugs





Joined: 16 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can easily imagine that Canada at one time could have thrown in with Trump on NAFTA, and let Mexico and the US settle their beefs separately.

We are wrong on softwood lumber -- at least in BC. We ought to face up and do what we have to do to have permanent access via WTO rules, and the same with other staples we s supply them, but if we do this we have to know what we want. And one thing we want is to not go through this process in every 30 years.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:

To my best recollection, none of the agreements signed from 2006 - 2015 were negotiated in public as much as I have seen with the tail end of CETA and now with NAFTA.


Add the TPP to the above list as well.
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Harper on the NAFTA negotiations

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