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How does Parliament save face before Trump?


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If I had my way, Parliament would adopt unilateral free trade with the world or at least incrementally advance towards ever more free trade compared to now.

Instead, Trump has put Parliament in a difficult position. Every party has backed Trudeau's retaliatory tariffs against the US even though those same tariffs will hurt Canadian consumers more than anyone. Sheer has even removed Bernier from his shadow cabinet.

Intellectually, the right decision would be for Canada to adopt unilateral free trade with the world or at least negotiate as much free trade as Trump would be prepared to accept. Psychologically though, Trump forces Canadian politicians into a corner having to decide how to save face against his attacks. If I were PM, I would try to solve this dilemma by not retaliating against Trump's tariffs, promoting more free trade, and then just making it clear that we'd chosen this policy in spite of and not because of Trump's belligerence. Politically, that could be difficult though, and any PM who doesn't take on a fighting stance against Trump's belligerence would risk getting ousted by his own party. I probably would get ousted myself similarly to how Bernier recently has.

 

An alternative options, at least if Canada were to adopt unilateral free trade with the world, would be for Canada to then make it clear that it will not raise tariffs against other countries at Trump's insistence come hell or high water. That could be a way for Parliament to adopt full free trade with the world without appearing to have surrendered to Trump.

So how does Canada's Parliament escape this dilemma? As long as it doesn't find a way to return to freer trade while saving face against Trump, this trade war will just escalate until it ruins the North American economy.  What other path could Parliament follow that would allow it to return to free trade without giving the impression of defeat before Trump? Until it solves that, we could be in a trade war that could drag on for years and destroy millions of jobs on both sides of the Canada-US border.

 

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1 hour ago, Machjo said:

If I had my way, Parliament would adopt unilateral free trade with the world or at least incrementally advance towards ever more free trade compared to now.

Instead, Trump has put Parliament in a difficult position. Every party has backed Trudeau's retaliatory tariffs against the US even though those same tariffs will hurt Canadian consumers more than anyone. Sheer has even removed Bernier from his shadow cabinet.

 

Trudeau (and Parliament) have far fewer options than Trump...Trump can leave NAFTA without nearly as much political and economic damage.   Canada's dependence on the U.S. export market (75%) means Canada has less leverage, as it cannot develop new markets overnight, not even for raw materials.   Pipelines war and questionable decisions totally unrelated to Trump have further limited Canada's options.

 

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Intellectually, the right decision would be for Canada to adopt unilateral free trade with the world or at least negotiate as much free trade as Trump would be prepared to accept. Psychologically though, Trump forces Canadian politicians into a corner having to decide how to save face against his attacks. If I were PM, I would try to solve this dilemma by not retaliating against Trump's tariffs, promoting more free trade, and then just making it clear that we'd chosen this policy in spite of and not because of Trump's belligerence. Politically, that could be difficult though, and any PM who doesn't take on a fighting stance against Trump's belligerence would risk getting ousted by his own party. I probably would get ousted myself similarly to how Bernier recently has.

 

Agreed....Trudeau (and Freeland) have fallen for the same Trump tactics as have failed U.S. politicians....fighting at Trump's level, where Trump has many advantages.   Bernier exposed a weakness and dissenting undercurrent in Parliament for supply management policies that existed before Trump was elected.   Internationally, Canada has been taken to task for several other tariff and non-tariff barriers to foreign imports over many years through the WTO (painfully slow process)....Trump just cut to the chase and unilaterally imposed countervailing duty/tariffs.

Trump has proposed that NAFTA be scrapped in favour of unilateral trade agreements, which would solve several issues and create others.  But Trudeau partnered with Mexico early on, and would appear to be flip-flopping on NAFTA.    Getting back at Trump and the "bully" Americans wins political points in Canada, but it won't pay the rent.

Economically, it would not be the worse thing in the world to revert to the previous FTA and WTO tariff (2.5%) structure, letting Canada and Mexico continue with NAFTA as desired (but the two nations only trade 10% as much with each other compared to the USA).

 

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An alternative options, at least if Canada were to adopt unilateral free trade with the world, would be for Canada to then make it clear that it will not raise tariffs against other countries at Trump's insistence come hell or high water. That could be a way for Parliament to adopt full free trade with the world without appearing to have surrendered to Trump.

 

Existing Canadian tariffs and non-tariffs would still have to be addressed.    Parliament needs to develop trade policies that are divorced from previous trade wars and tariffs, but politics makes that nearly impossible.   Might be easier under a minority government or anti-globalist NDP.

 

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So how does Canada's Parliament escape this dilemma? As long as it doesn't find a way to return to freer trade while saving face against Trump, this trade war will just escalate until it ruins the North American economy.  What other path could Parliament follow that would allow it to return to free trade without giving the impression of defeat before Trump? Until it solves that, we could be in a trade war that could drag on for years and destroy millions of jobs on both sides of the Canada-US border.

 

Canada will just have to wait Trump out...it is too dependent on U.S. trade.    Trump's power will be eroded a bit after the 2018 mid-term elections, and as the 2020 presidential election cycle heats up, other cracks and priorities will come to the fore, like an overdue recession/downturn, which have a much larger impact than any tariffs imposed by Trump.

IMHO, Trudeau created unnecessary political "red lines" by digging in his heels on a sunset clause and conflict resolution processes, and by bringing his "feminist agenda" to the table when it has already been rejected during CPP negotiations.     Trudeau partnered with Mexico against Trump even though Mexico has the wage and working conditions abuses Trudeau wants to change.     The Canadian economy is sputtering on jobs and capital investment, so Trudeau doesn't have time to play games.

 

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11 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

Trudeau (and Parliament) have far fewer options than Trump...Trump can leave NAFTA without nearly as much political and economic damage.   Canada's dependence on the U.S. export market (75%) means Canada has less leverage, as it cannot develop new markets overnight, not even for raw materials.   Pipelines war and questionable decisions totally unrelated to Trump have further limited Canada's options.

 

 

Agreed....Trudeau (and Freeland) have fallen for the same Trump tactics as have failed U.S. politicians....fighting at Trump's level, where Trump has many advantages.   Bernier exposed a weakness and dissenting undercurrent in Parliament for supply management policies that existed before Trump was elected.   Internationally, Canada has been taken to task for several other tariff and non-tariff barriers to foreign imports over many years through the WTO (painfully slow process)....Trump just cut to the chase and unilaterally imposed countervailing duty/tariffs.

Trump has proposed that NAFTA be scrapped in favour of unilateral trade agreements, which would solve several issues and create others.  But Trudeau partnered with Mexico early on, and would appear to be flip-flopping on NAFTA.    Getting back at Trump and the "bully" Americans wins political points in Canada, but it won't pay the rent.

Economically, it would not be the worse thing in the world to revert to the previous FTA and WTO tariff (2.5%) structure, letting Canada and Mexico continue with NAFTA as desired (but the two nations only trade 10% as much with each other compared to the USA).

 

 

Existing Canadian tariffs and non-tariffs would still have to be addressed.    Parliament needs to develop trade policies that are divorced from previous trade wars and tariffs, but politics makes that nearly impossible.   Might be easier under a minority government or anti-globalist NDP.

 

 

Canada will just have to wait Trump out...it is too dependent on U.S. trade.    Trump's power will be eroded a bit after the 2018 mid-term elections, and as the 2020 presidential election cycle heats up, other cracks and priorities will come to the fore, like an overdue recession/downturn, which have a much larger impact than any tariffs imposed by Trump.

IMHO, Trudeau created unnecessary political "red lines" by digging in his heels on a sunset clause and conflict resolution processes, and by bringing his "feminist agenda" to the table when it has already been rejected during CPP negotiations.     Trudeau partnered with Mexico against Trump even though Mexico has the wage and working conditions abuses Trudeau wants to change.     The Canadian economy is sputtering on jobs and capital investment, so Trudeau doesn't have time to play games.

 

I agree with some of what you say. Another concern of mine is that once Trump is gone after the next US presidential election or the one after that, he will have left behind him a somewhat more protectionist and anti-US Canada, the exact opposite of what he's trying to accomplish. Not only will this Canadian protectionism and nationalism hurt the US, but it will hurt Canada even more. Already even the Conservative Party is feeling the pressure to speak more firmly in support of supply management and protection for its agricultural sector etc.

 

Even before this trade war started, Canadians were already too protectionist in my opinion. Even Harper was. But at least we could hope that Canadians might become persuaded towards more free trade over time. Trump has just destroyed in a few months decades of Canadians gradually habituating themselves to free trade with the US. He's just made it that much more difficult for any future US president to regain the trust of any future Canadian government at least in the foreseeable future regardless of the party in power.

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12 minutes ago, Machjo said:

I agree with some of what you say. Another concern of mine is that once Trump is gone after the next US presidential election or the one after that, he will have left behind him a somewhat more protectionist and anti-US Canada, the exact opposite of what he's trying to accomplish. Not only will this Canadian protectionism and nationalism hurt the US, but it will hurt Canada even more. Already even the Conservative Party is feeling the pressure to speak more firmly in support of supply management and protection for its agricultural sector etc.

 

I think it must be pointed out that Trump's trade agenda as promised and delivered is not particularly directed at Canada only...many nations are rattled by Trump's rogue actions on trade/tariffs.    Most Americans are not as personally engaged on this file as are Canadians who feel Trump is an existential threat to the status quo.....Canada is not such a threat to the U.S.   Dramatic language about "friends, neighbours, allies in wars, etc., etc," really doesn't resonate as well in the USA.    Americans are distracted by many other things while Canadian media keeps pounding away on Trump the Barbarian.

Also, Trump may be doing Canada a long term favour by accelerating diversification of exports to other nations.   That should have happened regardless of Trump (e.g. CETA, CPP).

The world has survived many previous economic crises and downturns....it will survive Trump too.

 

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Even before this trade war started, Canadians were already too protectionist in my opinion. Even Harper was. But at least we could hope that Canadians might become persuaded towards more free trade over time. Trump has just destroyed in a few months decades of Canadians gradually habituating themselves to free trade with the US. He's just made it that much more difficult for any future US president to regain the trust of any future Canadian government at least in the foreseeable future regardless of the party in power.

 

I think this is a good thing...Canada was warned about the risks of the FTA/NAFTA but dove in head first anyway.   Canada should not have been so naive in the past or in the future.    So much dependence on U.S. exports and foreign direct investment is an economic existential threat to Canada.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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4 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

I think it must be pointed out that Trump's trade agenda as promised and delivered is not particularly directed at Canada only...many nations are rattled by Trump's rogue actions on trade/tariffs.    Most Americans are not as personally engaged on this file as are Canadians who feel Trump is an existential threat to the status quo.....Canada is not such a threat to the U.S.   Dramatic language about "friends, neighbours, allies in wars, etc., etc," really doesn't resonate as well in the USA.    Americans are distracted by many other things while Canadian media keeps pounding away on Trump the Barbarian.

Also, Trump may be doing Canada a long term favour by accelerating diversification of exports to other nations.   That should have happened regardless of Trump (e.g. CETA, CPP).

The world has survived many previous economic crises and downturns....it will survive Trump too.

 

 

I think this is a good thing...Canada was warned about the risks of the FTA/NAFTA but dove in head first anyway.   Canada should not have been so naive in the past or in the future.    So much dependence on U.S. exports and foreign direct investment is an economic existential threat to Canada.

Your last sentence brings up a valid point. Maybe a future Canadian Prime Minister will become more aggressively pro-free-trade with the rest of the world and might even be willing to at least start to lower trade tariffs in the agricultural sector. In my ideal world, it would even declare unilateral free trade with the world, though I won't hold my breath on that. But yes, it might galvanize future Canadian Parliaments to negotiate free trade with other states around the world far more aggressively than it has in the past.

sadly though, it might become more hesitant to drop tariffs against the US. But hey, lower tariffs with any country would be an improvement.

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2 minutes ago, Machjo said:

Your last sentence brings up a valid point. Maybe a future Canadian Prime Minister will become more aggressively pro-free-trade with the rest of the world and might even be willing to at least start to lower trade tariffs in the agricultural sector. In my ideal world, it would even declare unilateral free trade with the world, though I won't hold my breath on that. But yes, it might galvanize future Canadian Parliaments to negotiate free trade with other states around the world far more aggressively than it has in the past.

 

Well, if we have learned only one thing throughout the FTA/NAFTA life cycle, Congress and Parliament must be far more engaged in such trade deals going forward, unfettered by partisan politics.   Bernier wasn't saying anything new, but he was saying it at a very sensitive time.     Canada made a deal with the devil for expediency, but that deal's advantages have probably run its course because global market conditions are so much different now.

 

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sadly though, it might become more hesitant to drop tariffs against the US. But hey, lower tariffs with any country would be an improvement.

 

I think there will always be some tariff and non-tariff barriers by many nations because of politics.   Reducing them is the first step.

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2 minutes ago, Jimwd said:

Define saving face when trump is known world wide as a pathological liar. I’m not sure a guy who fantasizes about dating his own daughter can ever save face. 

Good point there. By saving face, I meant refraining from imposing retaliatory tariffs and still promoting freer trade between the US and Canada without appearing to have fallen to Trump in battle.

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4 minutes ago, Machjo said:

Good point there. By saving face, I meant refraining from imposing retaliatory tariffs and still promoting freer trade between the US and Canada without appearing to have fallen to Trump in battle.

The sooner trump policies are shown to be failures the sooner America rejects trump style policies. That means the world needs to unite in resistance ,not co operate. Approx 15 Million American jobs rely on export to Canada and Mexico alone. Imagine trump being tolerated with that type of job loss. Yes we will hurt in the short term but better than long term pain and tolerating a bully, remember the rest of the world is with us not with trump. Take a look at the power grid and how much of America relies on Canadian power. I say triple the price . Make them feel it.

 

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6 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

What really matters are actual economic agreements and outcomes, not posturing and feel good hate campaigns for a domestic audience.

Trudeau was in trouble politically before this Trump spat, and he will need more substantial success to prevail in 2019.

 

 

Even Andrew Scheer has expressed his support for the retaliatory tariffs. So unless the Conservative Party's position changes, the three main parties may very well be on the same page on this issue. So it's not just about Trudeau anymore.

 

As for Trudeau, I disliked his big spending, but this is not about that. And unfortunately, it's not all about economics. When a country humiliates another, the other will react emotionally rather than rationally. Think about it. Canada's reaction to Trump is quite irrational economically and all three major parties are on board with this and have popular support. When people are angry, they are prepared to take the pain, take the beating, and bite the bullet for the sake of national dignity. Psychology absolutely plays a major in all of this.

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53 minutes ago, Machjo said:

Even Andrew Scheer has expressed his support for the retaliatory tariffs. So unless the Conservative Party's position changes, the three main parties may very well be on the same page on this issue. So it's not just about Trudeau anymore.

 

Agreed...it becomes a common denominator so other issues (files) will determine Liberal party fortunes in the 2019 federal election.

 

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As for Trudeau, I disliked his big spending, but this is not about that. And unfortunately, it's not all about economics. When a country humiliates another, the other will react emotionally rather than rationally. Think about it. Canada's reaction to Trump is quite irrational economically and all three major parties are on board with this and have popular support. When people are angry, they are prepared to take the pain, take the beating, and bite the bullet for the sake of national dignity. Psychology absolutely plays a major in all of this.

 

It is unclear to me how the Trump-Trudeau spat is a humiliation of all Canadians.   Trudeau appeared on American network news programs and specifically made condescending comments about Americans, not just Trump (e.g. 60 Minutes interview in 2016).  Americans did not flip out and boycott Canada.

Trumps legal tariffs on steel and aluminum for national security is not an insult to Canada or other allies, as many administrations have strived to preserve a minimum level of industrial base in country.   It is not just about Canada, and should not be interpreted personally that way.

 

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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2 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

Agreed...it becomes a common denominator so other issues (files) will determine Liberal party fortunes in the 2019 federal election.

 

 

It is unclear to me how the Trump-Trudeau spat is a humiliation of all Canadians.   Trudeau appeared on American network news programs and specifically made condescending comments about Americans, not just Trump (e.g. 60 Minutes interview in 2016).  Americans did not flip out and boycott Canada.

Trumps legal tariffs on steel and aluminum for national security is not an insult to Canada or other allies, as many administrations have striven to preserve a minimum level of industrial base in country.   It is not just about Canada, and should not be interpreted personally that way.

 

Maybe not, but that's obviously how the major parties and Canadians are interpreting it, rightly or wrongly. If it's a misunderstanding, then Trump has obviously failed miserably to communicate his real intentions.

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2 minutes ago, Machjo said:

Maybe not, but that's obviously how the major parties and Canadians are interpreting it, rightly or wrongly. If it's a misunderstanding, then Trump has obviously failed miserably to communicate his real intentions.

 

Trudeau and Freeland have failed on the trade file at many levels, first by dismissing Trump as a threat from the very beginning.  

Many Canadians felt that Trudeau was weak and untrustworthy before Trump attacked him in the media.

Nationalism is great to see in Canada after so many years of a "post national state" (Trudeau's words).

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3 minutes ago, Machjo said:

They have failed. Unfortunately, Scheer threw Bernier under the bus too. So at least on that front, all of the leaders across party lines are united.

 

That will not last into 2019...already there are rumblings that Trudeau has not been honest about Trump's compromise on a NAFTA sunset clause.

What happened to Bernier is a symptom (or feature) of Canada's parliamentary system, which doesn't always serve it well.

Trudeau will not be able to hide behind this trade spat with Trump forever.

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Trudeau had placed himself in a pickle.   His approval rating skyrocketted because he puts himself as the "champion" against Trump.  Majority of Canadaians must be hating Trump right now........so they stand behind this PM.

 

Now......how can he make negotiations and save face backing down from his "firm" stand against Trump?   Any concession he makes will be seen as him (Trudeau) backing down, and being weak.

 

Which will prevail?    Trudeau's pride......or the economy?

Edited by betsy
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10 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

Trudeau and Freeland have failed on the trade file at many levels, first by dismissing Trump as a threat from the very beginning.  

Many Canadians felt that Trudeau was weak and untrustworthy before Trump attacked him in the media.

Nationalism is great to see in Canada after so many years of a "post national state" (Trudeau's words).

"Nationalism is a pox on humanity" Albert Einstein

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6 hours ago, betsy said:

Trudeau had placed himself in a pickle.   His approval rating skyrocketted because he puts himself as the "champion" against Trump.  Majority of Canadaians must be hating Trump right now........so they stand behind this PM.

 

Now......how can he make negotiations and save face backing down from his "firm" stand against Trump?   Any concession he makes will be seen as him (Trudeau) backing down, and being weak.

 

Which will prevail?    Trudeau's pride......or the economy?

I suspect the tariff will remain in place for the time being if your pride doesn't break. Fine by us, our economy is doing great. We've been doing unilateral free trade since the Marshal Plan of WWII. Everyone else should just adopt it like we have. There's a reason our economy is the world's envy. See, trump understand trade, he does. He knows free trade is the best deal for everyone. But if you don't play ball then tariff it is. Gona hurt everyone else alot more than it will hurt us. 

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41 minutes ago, paxrom said:

I suspect the tariff will remain in place for the time being if your pride doesn't break. Fine by us, our economy is doing great. We've been doing unilateral free trade since the Marshal Plan of WWII. Everyone else should just adopt it like we have. There's a reason our economy is the world's envy. See, trump understand trade, he does. He knows free trade is the best deal for everyone. But if you don't play ball then tariff it is. Gona hurt everyone else alot more than it will hurt us. 

Pride goeth before the fall. Check all the great empires in history. 

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47 minutes ago, paxrom said:

That's being said of hitler and nazi germany... wrong context buddy. 

Trump is  a fascist, anti immigrant  , ultra nationalist that unites his  base by targeting groups to hate. Hitler targeted Jews and Communists. Trump mexicans and muslims/

Hitler promised to restore german to g\her former glory. Trump MAGA..

 

My context was accurate.....

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1 minute ago, Jimwd said:

Trump is  a fascist, anti immigrant  , ultra nationalist that unites his  base by targeting groups to hate. Hitler targeted Jews and Communists. Trump mexicans and muslims/

Hitler promised to restore german to g\her former glory. Trump MAGA..

 

My context was accurate.....

Those are simple anti trump rhetoric that doesn't delve deeply with the problems we have facing immigration.  Do you understand there is a real and credible problem with drugs moving across the border? There is a real problem with drug dealers and their human trafficking net work? So are we to adopt policies that encourages these things in the guise of human rights?  Do not overly simplify and detract the issue with your Ad Hominen logical fallacies. 

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2 minutes ago, paxrom said:

Those are simple anti trump rhetoric that doesn't delve deeply with the problems we have facing immigration.  Do you understand there is a real and credible problem with drugs moving across the border? There is a real problem with drug dealers and their human trafficking net work? So are we to adopt policies that encourages these things in the guise of human rights?  Do not overly simplify and detract the issue with your Ad Hominen logical fallacies. 

Undocumented workers are an American creation driven by american greed for low wage workers. If you understand economics 101 ..its called supply and demand. Without a demand there would be no supply. You want to fix your undocumented worker problem .. ? Simple .Jail any america who hires an illegal for minimum 5 years. No jobs no illegals.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Jimwd said:

Pride goeth before the fall. Check all the great empires in history. 

Almost 240  years and still kicking. We are not an empire we are a revolutionary force. The best 240 year old experiment. You're not dealing with just a physical force, you're also dealing with an ideological force. Don't make the mistake our adversary have by  regarding us an empire.  

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