Freeland's shoddy Trump speech may cause us to suffer

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

September 8, 2018

The history books will not look kindly upon Chrystia Freeland for her 2018 “Diplomat of the Year” award from the esteemed Foreign Policy Magazine.

In June, the rookie foreign affairs minister traveled down to Washington, D.C., to accept her award and deliver a speech about Canada’s role in the world. But she didn’t really talk about Canada.

She didn’t emphasize the strong historic bonds between Canada and the U.S. or talk about the North American sanctuary of peace, freedom and security. Instead, Freeland saw it appropriate to take a cheap shot at President Donald Trump.

Her speech painted an ugly picture of “angry populism” and the rise of “anti-democratic forces” in the West. She hit all the notes of the anti-Trump “Resistance” movement.

While not mentioning Trump by name, she warned of the rise of authoritarian regimes and described how people who “feel their economic future is in jeopardy” will turn to a “demagogue who scapegoats the outsider, the other, whether it is immigrants at home or trading partners abroad.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to know she was talking about Trump.

It was quite the spectacle: in the midst of a high-stakes trade negotiation, Canada sends its top diplomat down to Washington to give a speech where she shows utter contempt for the American President.

The White House took notice, and trade negotiations haven’t been the same ever since.

In the American media, this speech is often cited as a thorn in the side of the NAFTA negotiations.

D.C.-based law professor Frank Buckley, who is known for being knowledgeable of the Trump Administration, went on CBC earlier this week and stated that the Canadians are to blame for the NAFTA fiasco. He said “the White House took it personally” when Freeland gave her anti-Trump speech, and that thereafter she was “completely frozen out of the White House.”

The CBC host was dumb-founded. Her network has been running with the narrative that Trudeau and his team have done nothing wrong and that the trade dispute is entirely because of Trump and his erratic nature. Freeland’s snarky speech wasn’t even on the CBC’s radar.

Imagine, for a moment, that a conservative magazine lauded a top Trump official with an award, and that official travelled to Ottawa to deliver a big acceptance speech. Then, during the official’s speech, he painted a mocking caricature of a shallow progressive leader obsessed with platitudes and far-left pet causes, only elected because of his famous last name.

Everyone knew he was talking about Justin Trudeau, and the official gave advice to other world leaders about the best ways to ignore and work around the Canadian leader.

Now imagine that Trump official was celebrated throughout the media, and awarded with “Diplomat of the Year” title, just as Canada – U.S. trade negotiators were pursuing a new deal. What would Trudeau say the next time Trump called asking for a favour?

The CBC and other leftist Canadian media outlets can bury their heads in the sand and pretend that Freeland and Trudeau are the heroic victims of this growing trade war.

The truth is a tougher pill to swallow.

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