Trudeau needs to get serious on NAFTA


(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

Justin Trudeau took the opportunity on Halloween to dawn his favourite Clark Kent costume and flash a Superman logo while walking through the House of Commons. 
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media swooned over Trudeau’s antics. “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Justin Trudeau!” read near-identical social media posts from Global News and the Toronto Star. 
It’s bad enough that we have a Prime Minister who prefers to play dress up than to face the important issues of the day: Islamist terrorism, burgeoning debt, threats to national unity, and the grim ethical issues and conflicts within his own government. Do we really need journalists cheering him on? 
Of course, it was Halloween – and some Canadians defended the PM and his Peter Pan-esque qualities. It’d be one thing if the Prime Minister were a serious leader, steadying the ship and accomplishing goals, while also knowing how to kick back and have a good time. The problem is that Trudeau’s media stunts far outnumber any real accomplishments by his government. 
On Thursday, Trudeau did a sit-down event with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to discuss Canada’s private sector contributions to innovation and tech. Trudeau was asked what it was like to be a new, young global leader. “I’m not that young anymore,” said Trudeau, now 45. 
Schmidt mentioned 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, the conservative Austrian leader who is set to become chancellor. “I disagree with him even more than I think I disagree with President Trump,” said Trudeau to sparse audience laughter.  
It was a bizarre comment, and an unprovoked jab at both Kurz and Trump. Trudeau isn’t a pundit. It isn’t his job to editorialize or to publicize his personal feelings about other world leaders. He isn’t an entertainer whose job is to please audiences. 
He’s supposed to be Canada’s representative, and his chief role is to promote Canadian interests and advance Canadian goals. And right now, Canada’s economic outlook and future prosperity are increasingly being jeopardized by threats to NAFTA. 
Alongside Trudeau’s senseless remark, a leaked memo from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper shed light on Trudeau’s haphazard approach to trade talks. Particularly alarming is that Trudeau is trying to ram his ideological agenda together with NAFTA negotiations, demanding the U.S. take action on climate change, aboriginal claims, union demands and feminist issues. 
Canada and the United States enjoy a unique bilateral relationship, but rather than working to advance this friendship, the Trudeau government is insisting on negotiating alongside Mexico. 
“I fear that the NAFTA re-negotiation is going very badly,” wrote Harper in his October 25 letter. “I also believe that President Trump’s threat to terminate NAFTA is not a bluff… I believe this threat is real.” One of Canada’s top economic experts Jack Mintz visited D.C. and echoed Harper’s concerns. “His pessimism seems warranted.”  
This should be a wakeup call. It’s hard to exaggerate how much Canada depends on trade with our U.S. neighbours, which exceeded $650 billion last year and accounted for about two-thirds of our total trade. 
Tens of thousands of Canadian jobs are on the line.  Now is the...(READ MORE)