Canada-U.S. 2015-17

Written by  //  October 4, 2017  //  Canada, U.S.  //  1 Comment

See also Canada-U.S. relations 2013-15
NAFTA Negotiations 2017

4 October
Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Bill Clinton, Jean Chrétien talk NAFTA, Canada-U.S. relations in Montreal
Free-trade agreement created jobs and wealth, but had its downsides as well, the former leaders said.
(Montreal Gazette) While Donald Trump wasn’t mentioned by name, there were several references to the “current administration,” and he was clearly the elephant in the room as Chrétien and Clinton defended the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Free trade has created wealth,” Chrétien said.
But he noted that wealth has not been evenly distributed, “it is the biggest problem we face at this moment, redistribution of wealth, the rich have too much in relation to what the poor have gained.”
Clinton, who was in office during the 1995 referendum, also addressed the issue of Quebec sovereignty, “the people of Quebec did a great thing” by voting to stay in Canada, he said.
Clinton frequently spoke about the danger of tribalism and the need for trust in a divided world.
“You will never overcome the underlying problems of terror and we will not have enough unity to do what we need to do to stave off the worst of climate change unless first we conquer zero-sum tribalism,” he said. “Diversity means making better decisions.”
Chrétien took a similar tone, saying he didn’t understand why people are opposed to Muslims immigrating to Canada and comparing the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims to the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Opinion: Bill Clinton, Jean Chrétien and the Canada-U.S. relationship
In his 1999 Mont-Tremblant speech, Bill Clinton advanced the causes of federalism, national unity and Canada-U.S. relations in one fell swoop.
By Gordon Giffin, U.S. ambassador to Canada from 1997 to early 2001.
(Montreal Gazette) President Clinton and Prime Minister Chrétien’s enduring friendship is a microcosm of the profound bonds between our two countries. Even when our two nations have periods when we disagree, the Canada-U.S. relationship will most certainly continue to demonstrate the model for international collaboration. I have no doubt that the best days of this historic partnership remain ahead.

28 September
Bombardier got subsidies? Boeing received $64B from the U.S. government
When the Quebec government and Ottawa stepped in to shore up a struggling Bombardier with cash for its prized CSeries aircraft, danger was lurking, according to William Mitchell, professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
Sure enough, not too long afterwards, Boeing filed a complaint with the U.S. government alleging that Canada’s airplane manufacturer was encroaching on its home turf by selling CSeries aircraft on the cheap (to Delta Air Lines in the specific case) thanks to government subsidies. Now, Washington has slapped a preliminary 219 per cent import duty on Bombardier that’s meant to counteract the effect of those subsidies and help level the playing field.
READ MORE: Bombardier: A step-by-step guide to the trade dispute

Trump was looking for a trade war. Now he has one.
Economic historians have a term for this sort of behaviour: beggar-thy-neighbour. It usually makes things worse.
By Kevin Carmichael
(Maclean’s) The U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to tag Bombardier Inc.’s newest plane with retaliatory tariffs of more than 200 per cent was a blatant abuse of power. The complainant, Boeing Co., had asked for only an 80-per-cent penalty. Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, went bigger to remind the world that he could.
… the Commerce decision weakens Bombardier, and therefore puts in jeopardy at least some of the more than 20,000 Americans who work for the company’s U.S.-based suppliers. The plane-making duopoly of Boeing and Airbus would continue to reign uncontested, keeping prices high for airlines and their passengers. If Bombardier fails, a Chinese buyer likely would pick up the pieces to accelerate that country’s dream of challenging the duopoly. If that happened, Boeing could say goodbye to much of its Asia business.

21 August
U.S. houses using more Russian lumber, thanks to Canada spat
Offshore softwood-lumber imports into the U.S. in the first half of the year rose 38 per cent, while shipments from Canada fell 1 per cent
(Financial Post) The dispute has increased material costs for house builders in the U.S. by 20 per cent, according to [Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the National Association of Home Builders].

20 August
The Trump Unit: Inside Canada’s PMO squad to save NAFTA
Two former trade officials, two senior PMO officials, an ambassador, a writer, a cabinet minister, and it’s run by a young staffer -Brian Clow -with a reputation for staying cool while smothering political fires
By Alexander Pancetta
(National Post) The Canadian government has created an election-style nerve centre to handle White House-related challenges and officials who describe its operations say it has about eight regular staff: two former trade officials, two senior PMO officials, an ambassador, a writer, a cabinet minister, and it’s run by a young staffer with a reputation for staying cool while smothering political fires.
The most blistering inferno it’s preparing to confront is a scenario where the president threatens NAFTA. Everybody involved anticipates the threat level from Trump will rise with the heat of negotiations. … ”The threat of withdrawal is his key negotiating leverage.”
However one former U.S. trade official says the president … has weakened his hand with an April tactical error, when he threatened to blow up NAFTA four months before negotiations started.
… The Canada-U.S. unit resembles, in several ways, a campaign war room — though its members hate that term. It gathers data on key constituencies — for instance, it collects American politicians’ opinions on issues and plugs them into a database.
It plans outreach efforts. It co-ordinates rapid response.
All the relationship-building in recent months involving ministers criss-crossing the U.S. for hundreds of meetings would be deployed in the event of a crisis. For example: Should Trump try ending NAFTA, instructions might quickly go out to Canadian minister X to call U.S. state governor Y to lobby friendly Washington official Z.
”(A war room is) basically a newsroom.”
It also provides a central hub so different offices are in contact, and don’t contradict each other. The Canada-U.S. unit includes the PMO’s Butts and Telford, Freeland, ambassador to Washington David MacNaughton, and writer Michael Den Tandt.

25 July
(Globe & Mail) For all the preparation and outreach the Trudeau government has conducted in the lead-up to the NAFTA renegotiations, there is one clear line in the sand.
If the Trump administration insists that Chapter 19’s dispute-settlement panels be removed from the accord, the Canadian government is prepared to walk away from the talks, a senior official told The Globe.
Chapter 19 allows Canada, the United States or Mexico to request the establishment of independent, bi-national panels when their exporters or producers feel they are the victim of unfair trade rulings by another NAFTA country. In objectives released last week, the U.S. government listed eliminating the dispute-resolution mechanism as one of its top priorities for the renegotiation.
David MacNaughton, the Canadian ambassador to the United States, stood by Chapter 19, and said it is “critical to have some kind of a dispute-resolution mechanism incorporated” into the talks.
Mr. Trudeau’s red line would not be the first time in Canadian history that free-trade talks were ended over dispute-settlement panels. In 1987, Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney ordered an end to negotiations on a Canada-U.S. free-trade deal unless a dispute-settlement mechanism was included.

7 July
Seeking U.S. ties apart from Trump, Trudeau will be first PM to address governors’ meeting
The prime minister’s address, which will focus on trade a month before crucial NAFTA talks are likely to begin, is part of his effort to build relationships with U.S. leaders outside of the Trump administration
(Toronto Star) Trudeau will give the keynote address at the National Governors Association meeting in Providence, Rhode Island next Friday. [His] address will focus on trade, his government said in a news release, and he “will also emphasize the importance of the Canada-U.S. partnership in cross-border security and the potential for common solutions on climate change.”

3 July
Has the nature of Canada-U.S. relations changed? (video)
With starkly different leaders in charge and free-trade renegotiations looming, the sibling-like relationship shared by Canada and the United States could become contentious

Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), we are continuing our study of United States and Canadian foreign policy.
Mr.Kim Nossal, Professor, Centre for International and Defence Policy, Queen’s University: “Rather than trying to address your list of very good questions, I’d like to offer some general observations on the relationship, which I hope will offer a useful frame for answering those questions when the committee comes to write its report. Your nine questions reflect a much broader question: how to frame Canadian policy when a new administration comes to power. This is a quadrennial question for Canadians, and an enduring one.”
Mr. Colin Robertson Vice-President and Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute:
Let me share with you 10 rules of the road that we Canadians should apply in managing Mr. Trump and the U.S. relationship.
One, what is our ask? What will we give? Know our facts. Messaging must be blunt and on-point, and get to the point. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. If you still aren’t getting through, change your pitch. Practice and persistence make perfect, but remember it’s not a level playing field. When we play against the U.S., we have a better-than-even chance only when we are playing on ice, so we need to be very well prepared.
Two, we need to get our act together, within governments, with business, labour and civil society. The Americans will exploit our differences to our cost, as we are learning once again on softwood lumber. (6 June)

Canada’s Trump Strategy: Go Around Him
By Max Fisher
(NYT) Allies of the United States typically work with the White House and federal agencies. Those have proved less reliable under Mr. Trump, leaving many adrift. Only the Canadians enjoy such easy access to mayors and governors.
American news and entertainment are ubiquitous in Canada, giving officials a nuanced understanding of political and cultural issues.
Whereas flights from Europe or Asia take a full day, forcing allies to visit selectively, Canadian leaders can be in Washington for breakfast and home by lunch.
Domestic politics have also helped. Mr. Trump polls poorly in nearly every allied country. Leaders, particularly those up for re-election, feel pressure to respond to slights. Mr. Trudeau, who is popular at home and faces little organized opposition, is freer to politely ignore Mr. Trump’s outbursts.

16 June
Brilliant, insightful speech
Canada 2020 Conference – Brian Mulroney (CPAC video)
On June 16, 2017, at the 4th Annual Canada 2020 Conference in Ottawa, former prime minister Brian Mulroney delivers a keynote address on the subject of Canada–U.S. relations. Following the speech, he participates in a question-and-answer session with Regan Watts, the head of government and regulatory affairs at IBM Canada. (no interpretation)

12 June
Ian Austen: A Canadian Minister’s Speech Shows a Growing Divide With the U.S.
(NYT) Chrystia Freeland, told the House of Commons last week that as the United States, under its new administration, “has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership,” Canada, like other countries, must “set our own clear and sovereign course.”
The speech was a signal that the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to take on a bigger role in international affairs.

6 June
Trudeau, Obama visit a ‘career highlight’ for Montreal restaurant owner
Following the strong statement in the House of Commons by Chrystia Freeland, Justin Trudeau showed up in Montreal for an intimate dinner with Barack Obama – that must have really annoyed DJT!

Obama and Trudeau meet up for dinner in Montreal
(BBC) The duo dined at trendy Liverpool House on Tuesday when the former US president was in town for a speaking engagement.
The pair have a storied bromance, which began when Mr Trudeau visited the White House for a state dinner last year.
Mr Trudeau, who once called Mr Obama his “sibling”, tweeted that they discussed getting young people “to take action in their communities”.
Trudeau decides it’s just not worth appeasing Trump in foreign-policy shift
Welcome to the Trudeau Doctrine: Canadian foreign policy seeks to preserve multilateral institutions and the Western alliance in the wake of America First.
(Globe & Mail) “The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Ms. Freeland said. “For Canada, that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.”
This will not go down well with the prickly – and, it seems, at times paranoid – American President. And it contradicts earlier efforts to preserve good relations with the Trump administration in the lead-up to renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement.
But whether out of frustration or despair, Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Freeland now believe that appeasing Mr. Trump simply isn’t worth the effort, if only because it implies agreeing with his approach.

19 May
Inside Canada’s hardening NAFTA strategy
(Globe & Mail) Canada’s growing willingness to fight back reached a new level this week, when Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland threatened to jettison a multibillion-dollar deal to buy Super Hornet fighter jets as retaliation for a trade dispute involving Boeing, the manufacturer of the planes. The unprecedented move – tying a defence contract to a corporate dispute, and raising the spectre of a trade war – is certain to have engendered heated debate within the Canadian government, which is not accustomed to taking such tough measures.
It adds a hard edge to the country’s previously conciliatory approach to dealing with Mr. Trump as the clock ticks down to a likely August start for NAFTA talks. Mr. Trump’s newly minted United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, sent Congress a letter on Thursday giving 90 days’ notification of the administration’s intent to renegotiate the deal.
Team Trudeau’s precarious friendship with Jared Kushner
(Globe & Mail) … the straight-out-of-Veep sequence of events – the U.S. President threatening to tear up the agreement altogether, his own administration helping orchestrate calls from his Canadian and Mexican counterparts to persuade him otherwise, the President then promptly climbing down while obliviously explaining the remarkable coincidence of those two calls happening almost simultaneously – was less amusing to those directly involved.
Because on the Canadian side, at least, the way it publicly played out underscored the precariousness of what might be the single most valuable relationship in this country’s current cross-border dealings: the one between Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford. … even if Mr. Kushner has more rope than anyone else who advises Mr. Trump, that rope is presumably not infinite. Among Canada’s many challenges in navigating the White House’s palace intrigue, as NAFTA talks heat up, will be to wield its relationships effectively enough to get what it wants, and discreetly enough not to compromise them.
Scotia Economics NAFTA: US to Pursue ‘Tweaks’ to Modernize North American Trade Pact

25 April
Why Trump is starting a trade war with Canada
(Politico) The president can look tough on tariffs against a country that has little room to retaliate.
The Commerce Department on Monday announced a preliminary decision to hit more than $5 billion worth of softwood lumber imports from Canada with tariffs of up to 24 percent. The announcement comes on the heels of Trump continuing to hammer Canadian policies that have effectively blocked certain U.S. dairy exports north of the border.
Trump Threatened Canada Today. Canada’s Response Made Him Look Foolish
(Occupy Democrats) Last week, for some unknown reason, President Trump began to taunt Canada by calling the country a “disgrace.” Today, he went further, complaining that our northern neighbors have been “very rough” with us and threatening a 20% tariff on Canadian soft lumber imports.
… Canada is making clear that they don’t need Trump and will not be pushed around.
“When it comes to defending Canada’s economic interests, we’re going to play hard,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told CNN today. “We’re nice guys: Politeness is something we believe is a national virtue, but it’s not an accident that hockey is our national sport.

22 April
‘We don’t blame you’: Wisconsin farmers on Trump’s blast at Canada’s dairy industry
With a state-wide oversupply of milk, the dairy industry’s problems go well beyond a little trade spat
all the milk processers in Wisconsin are operating at capacity. It’s a widely held view in the state that there’s simply too much milk being produced.
That’s what’s behind U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Canada is being “very unfair” to Wisconsin dairy farmers. He believes Canadian rules that favour domestic ultrafiltered milk, which is used in production of cheese and other dairy products, are hurting sales for U.S. producers.
But Trump’s slam of the Canadian dairy system is characterized by many in the state as misguided, because the real issue is broad overproduction.
Shane Sauer says his 120-head farm east of Madison and other such small operations have long been led to believe the market for milk was near endless.
As massive dairy farms continue to produce milk at full speed, helping to keep Wisconsin’s milk processors supplied, small family operations have been caught in the squeeze.

20 April
Donald Trump Blasts Canada’s Trade Practices As A ‘Disgrace’
(Canadian Press/HuffPost) Ever since Donald Trump was elected last fall, Canada’s government has been clinging to a strategy of low-drama, under-the-radar conversations about trade that keep investors calm in the choppy waters of a NAFTA renegotiation.
The U.S. president has stopped co-operating.
Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America’s northern neighbour Thursday, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure — this time about energy and lumber.
“We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers,” Trump said in the Oval Office.
Quebec farmers uncowed by Trump’s criticism of supply management
Quebec farmers say they’re not worried about recent comments by U.S. President Donald Trump attacking the way Canada manages the production of dairy products.
Speaking in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump singled out Canada’s treatment of U.S. dairy products as an example of unfair trade practices.
Under the supply management system, dairy farmers, as well as those who produce chicken, turkey and eggs, have quotas capping the amount they can produce. Imports of those products, with some exceptions, are discouraged through a system of tariffs and import quotas.
Dairy protected ‘for good reason,’ Trudeau says; Trump calls Canada’s actions a ‘disgrace’
‘Let’s not pretend that we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture,’ PM tells Bloomberg News

15 March
Trudeau Attends ‘Come From Away’ On Broadway With Power Crowd, Including Ivanka Trump
(CP) The attendees included U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who arrived in the same motorcade as Trudeau and his wife Sophie; cabinet members; and scores of foreign countries’ ambassadors to the United Nations. … There were up to 150 other UN ambassadors in the crowd — people Canada will spend the next few years lobbying in its effort for a temporary seat on the security council. There were also diplomats and politicians who were involved in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
The play had its official Broadway opening on Sunday, which was followed by widespread critical raves from publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. (Global) Justin Trudeau, Ivanka Trump cross paths on Broadway Ivanka Trump took in the play with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
9 March

Border guards can ask for your passwords

(RCInet) The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is warning people to think hard before deciding to take cell phones or other electronic devices across the border between Canada and the United States. Even if they have no grounds for suspicion, border guards can ask for them and might arrest a person who refuses to give them the passwords. … people should ask themselves whether they really need their devices before they get to the border. For example, she suggests people who may have presentations to make to consider sending them. People can also wipe some data from their devices. This is especially important for individuals who carry other people’s private information like doctors or lawyers.
[Micheal Vonn, policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association] says people who do decide to take their devices should back up their data in case the border agents seize and hold their devises for further examination.
If you refuse to give up your password to a U.S. border agent, you might not be arrested, but you could be banned from entering the country.

u-s-canada-trade-map
Vermont businesses watch anxiously as Canadians turned away at U.S. border
High-profile cases of passport holders sent back has merchants concerned
28 February
Candid and concerned: What former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman thinks of Trump, Trudeau staffers
On his first trip back to Canada since leaving his Ottawa post, Heyman sits down with OpenCanada, speaking openly on the “genius” of the Trudeau team and what worries him about the state of U.S. politics
For the moment, Heyman’s former ambassadorial seat in Ottawa remains empty (though Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday that Trump has chosen longtime Republican donor Kelly Knight Craft for the position.) …
“The political ambassadors, in history and in practice, have a relationship into the White House. And for that one-third, which happen to be [appointed to] the G20-type countries, that’s an important role for each of those countries to have, because those countries [already] have with their own ambassadors in Washington, or with people that they interact with, effective relationships at the State Department. They want to make sure that they have a really good relationship in the White House. So think of this now: one-third of all the ambassadorships, which happen to be the capitals — London, Berlin, Paris, Ottawa, Tokyo — are vacated. With all of this going on, and all of this uncertainty being created out of the West Wing, we have no ambassadors in place. What we have is a chargé d’affaires — historically, the deputy to the ambassador. The deputy works for and has had a career in the State Department, [and will] effectively run the embassy and the consulates, but it’s a very different relationship, government to government.”
Trump Gives Trudeau A Shout-Out In His 1st Congress Speech
(HuffPost) The president mentioned Justin Trudeau in highlighting the women’s business group created during the prime minister’s recent visit to Washington — a project involving the president’s daughter Ivanka.
Other elements of the speech that touch on Canadian interests included his promise to build the Keystone XL pipeline; his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and his call for a still-vaguely-defined border adjustment tax.
He also saluted Canada’s immigration system during his attention-grabbing remarks on immigration reform

18 February
Mulroney sings at Mar-a-Lago, prompts praise for Canada from Trump
(Globe & Mail) Mr. Mulroney has taken on the role as Prime Minister Trudeau’s unofficial envoy to the United States, using his long time personal connection to Mr. Trump and other members of his cabinet as well as the President’s outside business advisory councils to help shield Canada from America-first protectionist policies.
“Since Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Mulroney, along with former Canadian ambassador to Washington Derek Burney, has acted as informal advisers on how to handle the Republican-led Congress and the Trump White House and cabinet secretaries.
“A source said the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has said in private that the White House has found it easy and professional to work with Mr. Trudeau’s team of advisers that include principal secretary Gerald Butts, Chief of Staff Katie Telford and Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton.”

13 February
Evan Solomon: Trudeau’s three-step plan to stay under Trump’s radar
This meeting was never about substance, and instead all about relations. The goal for Trudeau was simply avoiding the Trump Twitter hit list.
(Maclean’s) In fact, the Trump-Trudeau meeting went about as well as could have been hoped by any partisan. The goal, as a source in the Prime Minister’s office told me before the meeting, was simple: keep trade flowing. “The key is stability on the economic front. It’s sending a clear message they [Trump and Trudeau] both realize how many jobs in each of our countries are dependent on the positive trade relationship.” Well, mission accomplished.
Trudeau, Trump find common ground on economic growth, border security
Two leaders issue joint statement outlining agreement on issues including energy , military and environment
(CBC) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump seem to have found common ground on a range of issues following their debut meeting in Washington today, including military cooperation, securing the border and empowering women business leaders.
In a joint statement issued mid-afternoon, the two leaders recognized “profound shared economic interests” and pledged to work tirelessly to boost growth and generate jobs in both countries.
“Millions of American and Canadian middle-class jobs, including in the manufacturing sector, depend on our partnership,” the statement reads.
The communique says the two countries will work to expedite the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline and commit to establishing pre-clearance operations for cargo crossing the border.
Trudeau, Trump launch joint initiative to support women in the workforce
(Globe & Mail) The pair announced the creation of a Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, a joint initiative meant to help businesses owned by women as a way to contribute to economic growth, competitiveness and the integration of the two economies.
The Prime Minister’s Office says the council will recommend ways to remove barriers to increasing competitiveness for women entrepreneurs, as well as tackle issues affecting women in the workforce — including those in senior leadership positions.
Trump Tried and Failed to Pull His Strange Trademark Handshake on Justin Trudeau
“He (Trudeau) started off brilliantly by closing the distance between himself and Trump, meaning that if the president tried to pull him forward, the two would collide—mutually assured destruction. Immediately, he took away his opponent’s greatest strength. Then he engaged Trump in a shoulder grab—a total power move that Trump countered with a shoulder/neck grab of his own. As the two men grimaced at each other, Trump created some distance and went back to old faithful: The grip-and-yank. If you look closely at the 4-5 second mark, Trump tries to tug Trudeau’s arm toward him, but for the first time since he took office, his opponent was ready: Trudeau held firm, resisted the yank, and held his ground beautifully. Finally, Trump tried to squeeze the hell out of his hand and go over the top for leverage, but Trudeau wouldn’t budge. The president gave it one more try, to no avail, and at the 7-second mark he ran out of gas. After exchanging a meaningful look with Trudeau, as if to recognize a worthy adversary, he dropped the Canadian’s hand and beckoned toward the cameras.” Watch: Justin Trudeau Scores a Stunning Draw in Handshake Domination Battle With Donald Trump

trudeau-trump-handshake
12 February
Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers
Bill to expand border co-operation could also see permanent residents denied re-entry to Canada
U.S. border guards would get new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil under a bill proposed by the Liberal government.
Legal experts say Bill C-23, introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and likely to pass in the current sitting of Parliament, could also erode the standing of Canadian permanent residents by threatening their automatic right to enter Canada.
The bill would enshrine in law a reciprocal agreement for customs and immigration pre-clearance signed by the governments of Stephen Harper and Barack Obama in 2015. Both houses of Congress passed the U.S. version of the bill in December.
What are your rights at the U.S. border?
The legality of enforcing Trump travel ban on Canadian soil
9 February
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland visits DC to reinforce Canada-U.S. ties
While no concrete steps were taken on NAFTA, Freeland’s meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set a friendly but firm tone with her U.S. counterpart.
(Open Canada) Freeland did make sure to emphasize that the conversation in Congress surrounding a potential tax reform plan, including the border element, is “all very, very preliminary,” and that “many contrasting points of view” exist in Congress around the plan.
Overall, despite the uncertainty hanging over trade relations, Freeland was positive about this week’s visit, underlining that Tillerson “is someone who knows Canada very well…and I think he will be a good partner for us.”
Trudeau, Trump to meet Monday in Washington, PMO confirms
Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Donald Trump next week as the president’s protectionist push threatens $541 billion in annual trade between Canada and the U.S.
Trudeau will visit Washington on Monday, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. The visit is expected to be a far cry from the warm state dinner thrown by Barack Obama for the Canadian a year earlier — a close relationship Trudeau later termed “dudeplomacy.”
On this visit, thorns loom large. The U.S. pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement prompted Trudeau to shuffle his cabinet to mount a wide-reaching lobbying effort to preach the gospel of Canadian trade. A Trump ally sought to reassure Canada in January that its trade ties — roughly in balance — were not the primary target, and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has since found a receptive ear in Washington.
“What has struck me is the kind of all-hands-on-deck approach to the Trump presidency,” said Fen Hampson, professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa. “The message is, quite clearly, we’re going to work with this administration, we’re going to work with whomever is in the White House, because it is Canada’s interest to do so.”
Freeland visited the U.S. capital this week, meeting Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and House Speaker Paul Ryan, among others. She told reporters afterward Canada won’t shy away from a fight and is “strongly opposed” to new tariffs, but that she was “pushing on an open door” with the new administration.
Many industries are at stake. Any NAFTA renegotiation could upend the auto sector, with its supply chains deeply interwoven through the U.S. and Mexico. Canada is the top supplier of foreign oil the U.S. and the countries are already at odds over softwood lumber. Canada’s ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, has said his goal is to avoid becoming “collateral damage” in Trump’s trade fight.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau arrived as Freeland’s meetings ended, speaking about Canada-U.S. ties and meeting with U.S. lawmakers. Before them Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan met with his counterpart at the Pentagon, as Canada grapples with Trump’s push for North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to hike military spending.
7 February
Andrew Cohen: Sarah Palin could bring her carnival show here as ambassador
(Ottawa Citizen) … here she is, as enduring and empty as a tin can in a landfill. Her name – believe it or not – is in the chatter coming out of the Prime Minister’s Office and the State Department.
Would Palin want the job? She would have to give up her lucrative speeches and television appearances, which have helped make her an estimated $12 million US. But her influence is waning; last year, she closed her political action committee.
In Canada, Palin would have to learn to speak one of our official languages. She would have to live in a land of naïfs who favour immigrants, gay marriage, the United Nations and NATO.
Of course, she would be warmly greeted by observers such as the besotted Rex Murphy, who says she is “smart … radiates human warmth … with a personality that could sell corn flakes.”
For Canada, it would be an honour to welcome Ambassador Palin. You betcha! She would remind us, lest we forget, of our new life through the looking glass.
6 February
PMO’s new Canada-U.S. relations ‘war room’ unit seen as ‘smart,’ considered unprecedented
‘They’ve done exactly what they should do. They’ve set up a war room to deal with Donald Trump problems,’ says Warren Kinsella.
(Hill Times)The PMO’s unprecedented new Canada-U.S. relations “war room” led by Brian Clow is being lauded by observers as a smart move, created to help coordinate the Trudeau government’s quick response and strategy to U.S. President Donald Trump’s unpredictable new “There’s not been a unit like this set up within the PMO to the best of my knowledge,” said Greg MacEachern, a senior vice-president at Environics Communications and former Liberal staffer. “Obviously, the prime minister wants to be keeping a very close eye on this. … It’s an unprecedented situation in the U.S. we’re watching.”
Along with pushing what he expects to be a “bit of a campaign in terms of dealing with U.S. decision-makers and influencers” by the Liberal government, Mr. MacEachern said one of Mr. Clow’s “big tasks” will be ensuring integrated outreach across government, so that any projects or talks already underway continue to be worked on.
Currently a three-member team, the recently set-up Canada-U.S. relations unit in the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) office has a director in Mr. Clow, who’s said to have a great eye for detail and strategy, and was formerly chief of staff to now Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale, Ont.) in her previous role as International Trade minister.
31 January
Trudeau won’t meet Trump this week — and not in Canada
Given the widening sphere of chaos around the president, that may be just as well
By Susan Delacourt
President Donald Trump won’t be coming to Canada for his first face-to-face meeting with Justin Trudeau — nor will that get-together be taking place this week, a source close to the prime minister has confirmed.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a tradition is being broken here — the one which usually sees new U.S. presidents make Canada their first summit destination following the inauguration. Traditions are crumbling all over the place since Trump became president 11 days ago, and Canadians are right to wonder whether traditional Canada-U.S. ties may end up among the casualties.
Though details haven’t been forthcoming yet on where the meeting will be taking place (though we do know it’s happening soon), the choice of a non-Canadian venue may not be just Trump’s preference, but Trudeau’s as well.
Also, the United States doesn’t even have an ambassador in place in Ottawa to handle a presidential visit. The post is currently vacant; Trump accepted the immediate resignations of all of Barack Obama’s envoys around the world on Jan. 20, including that of Bruce Heyman, former U.S. ambassador to Canada.
29 January
Michael Den Tandt (National Post): “Just over a week into his presidency, Trump’s series of jarring statements and draconian executive orders have left federal Conservatives divided, federal New Democrats struggling to find a role and Trudeau’s Liberals carefully threading their way through a crisis unlike any in modern memory.”
Stephen Maher (iPolitics): “It might be unwise for Trudeau to criticize Trump or his policies, and it is likely not necessary. Trudeau is not the leader of the Democratic Party. He is Prime Minister of Canada, and there is a broad, non-partisan consensus around the value of immigration to this country and the importance of welcoming refugees. He needs to say that. It’s his job. But he has to stay in his lane.”
Trump Communications Paralyzing Ottawa’s Decision-Makers
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) For the most part, this back-and-forth chaos has meant that Canada’s approach has been to adhere to a very strict and basic strategy — reinforcing the positives of the deeply-integrated Canada-U.S. trading relationship with its intertwined supply chains, said one source.
That explains the almost slavish adherence to the talking points that Trudeau and other cabinet ministers have been using — that 35 U.S. states have Canada as their number one customer, that nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada.
23 January
Trudeau’s Trump tactics seem to be working — so far: Paul Wells
The Prime Minister’s Office is being cautious and taking very little for granted in its approach to the new U.S. administration.
Until now Trudeau’s occasional offsite two-day cabinet retreats have been professional development exercises, a break from decision-making rather than a chance to make a bunch of decisions in a short amount of time. This week’s retreat, at Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser Hotel, is different. There is one item on the agenda: Donald Trump.
On Monday Stephen Schwarzman, the investor and adviser to the new U.S. president, met with Trudeau, then with all ministers, then with reporters … “One of the important things is the unusually positive view that’s held of Canada,” he said. “Canada’s been a great partner of the United States for as long as anybody can remember.” And so, while Trump’s arrival signals “a changed climate, maybe some modifications,” still, “basically things should go well for Canada.”
The structural changes to Trudeau’s government reflect the belief that dealing with Trump will require a government-wide response and a level of agility that doesn’t come naturally. The changes have all been reported, but together their magnitude is remarkable.
The structural changes to Trudeau’s government reflect the belief that dealing with Trump will require a government-wide response and a level of agility that doesn’t come naturally. The changes have all been reported, but together their magnitude is remarkable.
Chrystia Freeland … as foreign affairs minister. Her former chief of staff, Brian Clow, moves to the Langevin Block to co-ordinate Canada-U.S. files across the government. Marc Garneau takes over the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. relations. Andrew Leslie, who knew a bunch of Trump advisers when they were all soldiers in Afghanistan, becomes a parliamentary secretary for Canada-U.S. relations.
Trudeau called the provincial premiers last week to enlist their help in dealing with Trump’s America. Rona Ambrose, the Opposition Conservative leader, was in Washington on the day of Trump’s inauguration. She parked all criticism of Trudeau at home before she left, did media interviews while in Washington, will certainly do her best to make Trudeau’s life hell once they’re both back in the Commons, but in the meantime her willingness to help was duly noted.
12 January
Garneau takes over as head of Canada-U.S. committee
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given additional duties to Transport Minister Marc Garneau, naming the former astronaut chair of the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. relations.
The position had been held by Chrystia Freeland who became Canada’s top diplomat in Tuesday’s cabinet shuffle. Her new role includes total control over stickhandling incoming president-elect Donald Trump’s America-first trade policy, including renegotiation of the North American free trade deal.
“With regards to Minister Garneau, he’s performed very well in cabinet committees over the first year. In addition, his experience in the military, as well as obviously with NASA, made him an ideal choice to be the chair of the committee,” Mr. Trudeau’s communications director Kate Purchase told The Globe and Mail.
The new role for Mr. Garneau will allow him to help play a role in promoting Canada in the United States. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale remains vice-chairman.
11 January
U.S. ambassador to Canada says offer to help Trump transition met with silence
Bruce Heyman to resign and leave Ottawa on Jan. 20 as new president assumes office
Heyman said Canada and the United States are so “codependent,” the Trump administration will quickly realize how important the relationship is.
Konrad Yakabuski: Freeland moves from the Davos bubble to the real world
Much will hinge on the relationship Ms. Freeland develops with Rex Tillerson, provided the former ExxonMobil chief executive is confirmed as Mr. Trump’s secretary of state. Mr. Tillerson is no stranger to Davos. But he also showed up last year at Mr. Putin’s St. Petersburg Economic Forum, in defiance of the Obama Administration and U.S. sanctions on Russia. At Exxon, he pursued close ties with Mr. Putin and the head of Russia’s state-controlled oil giant, Rosneft.
As the ex-CEO of an oil multinational with operations in more than 50 countries, Mr. Tillerson has far more geopolitical experience than any incoming Canadian foreign affairs minister. He is a skilled negotiator, whether doing deals with African dictators or Western democracts. (He got burned by former Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, but he learned from it.)
He has been criticized for putting Texas-based Exxon’s bottom line ahead of U.S. national security interests. But as CEO, that was his job. If he applies himself as effectively on behalf of his country, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be ruthlessly focused. Realpolitik, not values, will dictate policy. Canada may be an afterthought.
Ms. Freeland will need to direct all of her abundant energy to earn the trust of both Mr. Bannon and Mr. Tillerson. The Trump people have no particular animus toward Canada – but they will not do us any favours either on softwood lumber exports or renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement. The biggest threat of all remains the collateral damage Mr. Trump’s America First agenda will inflict on Canada as he targets Mexico and China.
9 January
Trudeau government taking steps to manage transition to Trump, ex-envoy says
Top advisers, former PM Brian Mulroney meeting with incoming Trump administration ahead of inauguration
Trudeau’s top aides, principal secretary Gerald Butts and chief of staff Katie Telford, have met with top Trump officials, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, CBC News has confirmed.
The meetings were first reported by the Globe and Mail.
A government official speaking on background said the Canadian government is trying to be proactive and work together with the Trump administration on shared goals — such as infrastructure, trade and growing the middle class.
7 January
Justin Trudeau’s year of living dangerously
By Peter Donolo
Above all, the Prime Minister will need to remember at all times that he is the leader of a sovereign country. As obvious as that sounds, not all Canadians will agree. There is a strong lobby that argues we should do whatever it takes to get along with the U.S. administration, no matter how dangerous and noxious its agenda. These same lobbyists wanted Canada to join the Iraq War in 2003, and they will be at it again. Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is already lauding Mr. Trump as a “very nice guy.”
(Globe & Mail) Mr. Trudeau represents everything that Mr. Trump and his supporters detest. He is the toast of American liberal and media elites. With his on-the-sleeve feminism, his celebration of diversity and his aphorisms on inclusion, he is the personification of the “political correctness” that Mr. Trump excoriates. About the only thing that Mr. Trump is likely to grudgingly respect about our Prime Minister is his international celebrity status. Mr. Trump will already be regarding his opposite number with suspicion if not hostility.
So what can Mr. Trudeau do?
To start with, don’t unnecessarily tweak Mr. Trump’s nose. Poking with a stick is never a good strategy. So sanctimonious lectures should be out. What should be in is leading by example. Don’t lecture the Trump administration on women’s rights or diversity – send them delegations led by the likes of Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland or Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Show Mr. Trump respect for his office, but show him, above all, who and what we are.
Double down on multilateralism. The U.S. president doesn’t like or trust the United Nations? Well, it’s a cornerstone to our international policy. Put in the same efforts in the many multilateral organizations we belong to, from the Commonwealth to NATO to APEC to la Francophonie.
6 January
Sound advice
Alan Freeman:Let’s try to stay off Trump’s radar
If the tweeter in chief decides to go after Canada, there’s not much we can do
(iPolitics) Canada’s best policy may be to play a low-key game. When we seek attention on bilateral files, it often ends unhappily. One of the stupidest policies ever was for Alberta, abetted by the Harper government, to boast about the development of the oil sands to Americans, as if it was a beautiful thing. Better to keep quiet about the fact that northern Alberta had been turned into a giant open-pit mine. There was no better argument against the Keystone XL pipeline with environmentalists than a look at the oil-sands facilities around Fort McMurray.
As Canadians, we’re often better off staying under the radar, doing our business quietly across the border, making sure not to attract too much attention. Our best hope may be that the tweeter in chief gets so busy waging trade wars elsewhere that we can somehow escape his notice.
Canada and the Ringmaster President (PDF)
Paul Frazer
(Policy Magazine) The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has bilateral relations experts scrambling for clues as to what this means for the Ottawa-Washington policy axis. Veteran Canadian diplomat Paul Frazer, now an established Canada-U.S. consultant based in Washington, provides his early read on the next Oval Office occupant and how Canada should conduct itself accordingly

2016

10 December
U.S. Congress passes bill to enact long-awaited reforms for Canada-U.S. border
(Globe & Mail) A bill with potentially sweeping consequences for the Canada-U.S. border has just been adopted by the American Congress, allowing new projects aimed at speeding up travel through the international boundary.
The so-called preclearance bill has now been adopted by both U.S. legislative chambers after being passed by the Senate early Saturday. It’s now expected to become law with President Barack Obama’s signature.
Officials in both countries celebrated the news. The project has involved both U.S. political parties and the Harper and Trudeau governments, yet some participants had begun worrying it might stall from inertia.
… The more significant change is that the new agreements allow the system to be extended to every mode of transportation: first trains, then buses, and potentially someday even car travel, might be able to clear the border earlier.
The agreements also allow American customs agents to carry weapons within Canada, question people, and detain, but not arrest, them. The legislation that passed Saturday also allows agents accused of crimes at work to be prosecuted in the U.S.
“This agreement has long been a priority for Vermonters,” said Democrat Patrick Leahy.
“It would make it possible to restore Amtrak service between Vermont and Quebec in the future… Now, at last, we can confidently move to the next stages of getting passenger service to Montreal up and running.
9 December
Biden assures Trudeau, premiers that Trump won’t derail climate-change fight
U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden assured Canada’s premiers and Justin Trudeau that the fight against climate change will continue when president-elect Donald Trump takes office because many of the efforts to reduce emissions are no longer dependent on government but are market-driven.
“Whatever uncertainty exists around the near-term policy choices of the next president, I am absolutely confident the United States will continue making progress in its path to a low-carbon future and that’s because many of the trends … have taken hold and are no longer dependent on government initiatives.”
He said businesses are now taking steps to reduce emissions to save money as the cost of renewable energy drops. “Many of the trends are market-driven. They are common sense,” he said.
8 December
joe-biden-justin-trudeauU.S. VP Joe Biden says ‘Vive le Canada’ as he kicks off 2-day trip north
Biden calls climate change ‘the most consequential issue of our generation’
U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden used pre-dinner remarks at an event held in his honour in Ottawa to tout cross-border ties and urge the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau be a leader on international issues.
On Friday, Biden will attend a welcoming ceremony on Parliament Hill where he will sign the Senate and House of Commons guest books. After that, he’ll have a private meeting with the prime minister before attending a round table discussion with Trudeau, the premiers and Indigenous leaders who will be in Ottawa for a First Ministers Meeting.
U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman said in a statement that Biden and Trudeau will “discuss the strong partnership between the United States and Canada.”
Joe Biden drops in for a visit without any gifts: Chris Hall
U.S. vice-president could provide insight about what to expect from next administration
(CBC) As vice-president, and before that as a two-time chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, he’s well-positioned, as one Canadian diplomat put it, “to showcase the bilateral relationship.” Perhaps most importantly, he can at least explain what Canadian politicians should look for when Trump becomes president next month.
11 November
Three Trump positions that should concern Canadians
By Krista Hessey
(Open Canada) Donald Trump said many things during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign that caused unease. Here are just three of Trump’s campaign promises that Canadians specifically will be closely watching.
1. The United States shouldn’t defend countries that don’t pay up – including Canada.
2. Climate change is a “hoax.”
3. Free trade needs to go if America’s going to be great again.
9 November
Ottawa offers to renegotiate NAFTA in effort to warm ties with Trump
The immediate effort to curry favour with the president-elect less than 24 hours after the U.S. vote is a significant move to develop a co-operative relationship with a leader who is Mr. Trudeau’s political opposite. Liberal MPs have also been told to avoid criticizing Mr. Trump, who is well aware the Trudeau government was opposed to his stunning victory.
A prominent Canadian business figure and long-time friend of Mr. Trump told The Globe and Mail that the Republican leader knows that Mr. Trudeau and his team were “in the tank” for Hillary Clinton and in regular contact with campaign manager John Podesta and other key Democratic operatives.
“Trump is very defensive. He remembers all the people who were against him. He knows that the only person in Canada who has openly supported him is Conrad Black,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He also knows the government of Canada was 100-per-cent opposed to him. So they are not starting with a position of strength.”
Mr. Trump apparently has few Canadian friends other than Mr. Black, the former media magnate, as well as former prime minister Brian Mulroney and his wife, Mila, who is also close to Melania Trump.
… the source said Mr. Trudeau should send a special emissary to meet key players in the Trump campaign, citing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, National Republican Chairman Reince Preibus and former House speaker Newt Gringrich.
Mr. Trudeau should follow that up with a discreet visit to New York in December for a private and informal chat with Mr. Trump, who would appreciate the personal outreach, the source said.
18 October
2016: A Summer of (Liberal) Canadian Content
(The Foreign Policy Research Institute) PM Trudeau’s “sun” is still in ascendancy, while President Obama’s is setting. And the ongoing presidential campaign has absorbed virtually all political oxygen leaving little devoted to bilateral U.S.-Canada issues.
That said, our current issues are not of overweening import. There is a rolling laundry list of tertiary problems that are always in play: some get solved; new ones emerge; others just drag on indefinitely. We are, for example, likely to re-engage in dispute over import/export of softwood lumber since the 2006 agreement expired in October 2015, opening the way to unlimited export of Canadian lumber. We continue to struggle over the balance between facilitating access and augmenting security at our borders. Despite some high-profile terrorist activity (e.g. attack on Parliament by a lone gunman in October 2014), Canadians and particularly the Liberal government are reticent to the point of indifference about implementing tighter controls on immigrants.
Obviously, Trudeau would appreciate an Obama endorsement of the Keystone Pipeline. Such, however, is as likely as the sun rising in the west. The United States would comparably appreciate a sustained Canadian commitment to greater defense/security spending. Such is as likely as the sun setting in the east.
There is a sense that we are in an inter-act: a passage between administrations since the U.S. presidential election will change [the] tone if not [the] substance. Any such change in administrations, even if the “takeover” is by the same party, virtually freezes significant action and/or initiatives for upward of a year. The ambassador will change; senior officials throughout the U.S. government will change; action officers will pause awaiting new instructions. One can conclude, however, there will not be a wall built along the border if Republican candidate Donald Trump triumphs (nor will disgruntled U.S. citizens flee northward). A victory by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would continue the basic collegiality that marks bilateral relations when Democrats and Liberals respectively are in power.
17 October
Sympathetic Canadians Have a Message for Americans: You Guys Are Great
(NYT) The presidential campaign has exposed deep divides in American society and left many in every political party anxious about the future. During this time of political tension, our neighbors to the north have one thing to say: America is just great.
Some Canadians watching as American politics have hit rock bottom in recent weeks decided that the United States needed a cross-border pep talk. Thus was born a social media campaign called “Tell America It’s Great,” complete with a hashtag, a Twitter account and a series of YouTube videos.
It was the brainchild of the Garden Collective, a creative agency based in Toronto, and in the videos, a diverse and polite group of Canadians earnestly recite all the things they like about the United States.
29 June
Obama defends progressive values in speech to Parliament
U.S. president says the world will benefit from Justin Trudeau’s leadership
(CBC) U.S. President Barack Obama handed the torch of progressive politics to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday in a warm, rousing speech to Parliament, in which he also bluntly urged Canada to spend more on defence to meet its international obligations.
He praised the extraordinary alliance and deep friendship between Canada and the United States.
“We see ourselves in each other and our lives are richer for it,” Obama said.
“The enduring partnership between Canada and the United States is as strong as it has ever been and we are more closely aligned than ever before.”
Read and watch President Barack Obama’s speech to Parliament
‘The world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada. We need you. We need you’
8 April
Always good to include a right-wing view from a self-described environmentalist.
Lawrence Solomon: Justin Trudeau could face his worst nightmare in Ted Cruz
… Trudeau would be matched up against a hard-edged ideological opposite his own age but with a history of jaw-dropping achievements. A legal scholar who was not only a repeat national debating champion representing Harvard and Princeton, but who also won an astonishing five times in cases argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.
In one area — the Keystone XL pipeline — Trudeau need not fear a loss of face. Although he failed to press for Keystone’s acceptance in Washington during his official dinner last month, Trudeau did publicly express his disappointment at Obama’s decision to reject Keystone last November. Cruz’s decision to approve Keystone would be an important area of agreement. But that’s pretty much where it would end.
On his signature issue of climate change, Trudeau would overnight feel marginalized as Cruz reverses every Obama climate change initiative, cuts climate change funding to NASA, universities and every other federally funded institution in the United States, and defunds the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But Cruz would go further than that.
11 March
From Ted Cruz to hockey: Best cross-border quips from White House dinner
U.S. president tells crowd he was ‘going to bring a two-four’ to state dinner honouring PM.
and
Full Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s toast at the Canadian state dinner
10 March
U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership
(White House) President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau share a common vision of a prosperous and sustainable North American economy, and the opportunities afforded by advancing clean growth. They emphasize and embrace the special relationship between the two countries and their history of close collaboration on energy development, environmental protection, and Arctic leadership. The two leaders regard the Paris Agreement as a turning point in global efforts to combat climate change and anchor economic growth in clean development. They resolve that the United States and Canada must and will play a leadership role internationally in the low carbon global economy over the coming decades, including through science-based steps to protect the Arctic and its peoples. Canada and the U.S. will continue to respect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples in all climate change decision making. Furthermore, the leaders emphasize the importance of the U.S. and Canada continuing to cooperate closely with Mexico on climate and energy action and commit to strengthen a comprehensive and enduring North American climate and energy partnership.
Trudeaus arrive in D.C.Justin Trudeau, Canadian Premier, Making Rare State Visit
(NYT) Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, is to meet with President Obama on Thursday for the first state visit by a Canadian leader in 19 years, a diplomatic honor made possible in part by new pledges of cooperation on combating climate change.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Trudeau are expected to announce new commitments to reduce planet-warming emissions of methane, a chemical contained in natural gas that is about 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide, and which can leak from drilling wells and pipelines.
That announcement will come during a day of ceremony that will conclude with a state dinner in the East Room of the White House.
9 March
The United States is headed into a long sulk. This could be good for us.
(iPolitics) In 1972, then Minister of State for External Affairs Mitchell Sharp published a paper called “Canada-U.S. Relations: Options for the Future.” Sharp started from the premise that Canada must be “distinct from, but in harmony with” the U.S., and he addressed three options.
Option one was the status quo. Option two was closer economic, social and political integration with the United States.
Option three — the one Sharp advocated — was to diversify the Canadian economy away from its dependence on trade with the U.S. Economic outreach should be coupled with enhanced diplomatic and cultural links beyond the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Sharp said. And at home, government policies and subsidies should give Canadian media, musical, theatrical, publishing and artistic institutions the space to survive the onslaught of American popular culture.
Although there have been efforts towards chasing Sharp’s vision, his ‘Third Option’ remains an aspiration. After nearly a decade of cranky unilateralism under the government of Stephen Harper, it is time to dust off that option and test it against how Canadians see their future relationship with the world.
8 March
Paul Wells: Justin Trudeau who goes to Washington
(Maclean’s) Justin Trudeau gets his turn to recast the Canada-U.S. relationship. He has advantages: an ideologically compatible president, the first time a Liberal has met with a Democrat since Chrétien and Bill Clinton were leading their governments; the pomp of a full-blown state dinner, only the ninth of the Obama presidency and the first any president has thrown for a Canadian in 19 years. But the timing is not ideal: Obama is nearing the end of his presidency, and the bizarre presidential primary season has thrown doubt on the future, not only of Canada-U.S. relations but of all U.S. politics, after Obama leaves office.
7 March
Canada Fears Photo of Prime Minister with Pandas Could Worsen American Refugee Crisis
(Andy Borowitz) —Canada, already bracing for the possible inflow of millions of American refugees in November, might have made matters worse by releasing an unacceptably adorable photo of its Prime Minister hugging two baby pandas, Canadians fear.
3 March
How To Move To Canada If Donald Trump Becomes President
If Donald Trump becomes president, some Americans are gonna want to get out of here FAST. Indeed, Google searches for “how to move to Canada” have surged 2,450 percent since Trump won more primary elections on Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told HuffPost.
1 March
Colin Robertson: Trudeau’s challenge in Washington? Think beyond Obama
For Mr. Trudeau, and for Canada, it’s a golden opportunity. The meetings between these two leaders will reinvigorate Canada-U.S. relations after a decade of decline and set an agenda that that will serve as the reference point for the next administration.
In the final year of his presidency and facing a hostile Congress, Mr. Obama is commonly called a “lame duck” president. But armed with executive authorities and the determination to push them to their limits, Mr. Obama has shown he wants to fire on all pistons before leaving office on January 20, 2017.
For Mr. Trudeau, the visit is an opportunity to advance shared goals on climate and energy, international security, the economy as well as border management and trade.
8 February
Canada’s transport minister to discuss rail safety and customs pre-clearance in Washington
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is on a two-day working visit to Washington, D.C. to discuss rail safety and transportation of dangerous goods, as well as adding customs pre-clearance for U.S.-bound passengers and cargo at more Canadian airports. [He] will hold meetings with his U.S. counterpart Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security to discuss adding Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Quebec City’s Jean Lesage airport to a list of eight current Canadian airports where passengers are pre-cleared for flights to the U.S.
The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that adding pre-clearance to these airports would allow airlines flying out of those two locations to offer direct service to a greater number of U.S. destinations because they could fly into airports that don’t have customs officials.
It would also potentially attract more U.S. tourists to Canada because American travellers could hop on more direct flights back to the United States.
2 February
David T. Jones and Hon. David Kilgour square off in the Epoch Times.
David T. Jones: The Trudeau Government: A U.S. View
Essentially a comfortable decade of closely matched bilateral defense and foreign policy is over. The Conservatives believed in a robust defense and a Canada that “punched above its weight.” The Liberals are not interested in boxing matches. They have canceled the projected F-35 purchase with a projected review for an F-18 replacement that will stretch into the never-never. Their proposals for a rebuilt, modernized navy appear made of paper rather than steel. And a “leaner” Canadian military will probably subtract combat-capable units rather than headquarters paper-pushers.
Hon. David Kilgour: Optimistic Trudeau Administration Brings Canada Closer to US Democrats
Although the Liberal government is at the beginning of an uncertain yet unabashedly optimistic journey, there is clearly more alignment between it and U.S. Democrats than with the previous Harper Conservative government. It will be interesting to see—presuming the Democrats keep the White House later this year—how this alignment will translate into more cordial bilateral relations as both governments face the challenge of responding to their respective, and sometimes competing, national interests in global politics.
19 January
CANADA’S NEW MAN IN D.C.
David MacNaughton has enjoyed a long career in both business and politics
(Ottawa Citizen via Press Reader) Most Canadians have never heard of David MacNaughton. Yet the veteran of business circles and political backrooms is about to become Canada’s most important envoy on the world stage, as ambassador to the United States.
A veteran of business and political circles, David MacNaughton will become Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. just ahead of Prime Minster Justin Trudeau’s visit to Washington in March.
Why did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tap him for the job at a critical time in Canada-U.S. relations? It’s simple: trust.
MacNaughton was Ontario cochair of Trudeau’s campaign in last fall’s election. He has had a long, close relationship with Trudeau’s two senior advisers: chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerald Butts.
This personal connection could give MacNaughton real influence as he lobbies the White House and U.S. lawmakers on Canada’s behalf.
Derek Burney, a former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., said Monday that MacNaughton is a solid choice for the job. “I think he’ll be a great ambassador in Washington. He’s a very smart political operator in the best sense of that description.”

2015

8 December
A long, sympathetic profile
Trudeau’s Canada, Again
With support from President Obama and the legacy of his father on his side, Justin Trudeau sets out to redefine what it means to be Canadian
Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama(NYT Magazine) […] One week later, a new geopolitical relationship between America and Canada would begin in a conference room in Manila at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting, when Trudeau and Obama sat down for the first time to talk. … the United States has no relationship more important than the one with Canada. The country is one of America’s largest trading partners (on par with China), a peaceful neighbor and a crucial ally in global affairs — when the relationship is functional, as it hasn’t been in recent years. Harper’s hawkish foreign policy put him at odds with Obama on the Iran nuclear treaty, Israeli-Palestinian relations and Syrian refugees. In domestic affairs, Harper was strongly in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama resisted; the president killed the project two weeks after the Conservatives lost. The discord may largely have ended with Trudeau’s election, though Canada will be less likely to participate in airstrikes against ISIS in the Middle East.
The 45-minute session in Manila was casual and friendly; two of Obama’s campaign aides worked for Trudeau’s campaign, and the president followed the Canadian race and knew of the excitement the victory had generated around the world — much as his own triumph had in 2008.
In a private conversation, the president advised Trudeau to be active early, but also to think about calibrating sky-high expectations with a long-term plan for governance. Obama shared his impressions of various world leaders, suggesting whom to build relationships with — and whom to steer clear of. Obama issued an invitation to Washington, and later to a state dinner to be held in the new year, the first honoring a Canadian prime minister in 19 years. The president went out of his way to make clear that he looked forward to spending personal time together, with their wives. ‘‘There was an air of mentorship but not in a paternalistic way,’’ Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said. ‘‘Trudeau’s going to be on the stage for a long time. He’s got a ton of talent.’’
‘‘It was nice to confirm in person how like-minded we are on so many issues,’’ Trudeau told me. ‘‘He said that seeing my family on TV on election night reminded him of his election in 2008 with his family. I’m looking forward to having a beer with him.’’
Trudeau to get red carpet treatment during White House visit
Trudeau vowed to put a priority on improving Canada’s relationship with its neighbour after ties were strained over energy and climate issues during the tenure of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whom he defeated in October.
The last White House state dinner for a Canadian leader was in 1997, when President Bill Clinton hosted Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
6 December
(CTV) Outgoing Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer says the Liberal government is focused on moving forward in its new relationship with the U.S. administration, adding that it is in a good position to do so.
“There’s no question that the Liberal government has a lot of their staff … connected to the White House.”
Doer said International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s role as the head of the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. relations is also a boost for the bond between the two countries. Freeland, who is a Rhodes Scholar, author and former journalist, was a frequent guest on political talk show panels before entering politics.
24 November
Don’t often agree with Derek Burney, but believe that this assessment is right
Trudeau gets a quick introduction to the global stage – and Canada’s role
Whatever the 2016 election produces will likely pose tough challenges for Canada’s economic prospects with the U.S. and possibly our security ties as well. Personalities at the top that get along can certainly help but exchanges need to extend beyond the White House. We will need to be both nimble and hard-headed to defend our interests where there are nagging differences, recognizing that aspirations for warmth and platitudes count for very little in global relations. It would be timely to exercise leverage with a coherent strategy aimed selectively at the Asia-Pacific region in order to broaden our horizon for influence and simultaneously strengthen our hand in dealing with an increasingly wary and self-interested America.
23 November
What Canada’s New Foreign Policy Means for the U.S.
(Bloomberg) Canada’s new Liberal Party government proposed drastic changes to its foreign policy during the campaign and now is committed to seeing them through. But as the new team in Ottawa transforms from campaigning to governing, its challenge is to mesh its view of the world with that of its allies, especially the United States.
The Halifax International Security Forum, held last weekend, was the first major opportunity for Canada’s new leaders to openly discuss pressing security issues with foreign officials, experts and journalists. Some in the U.S. delegation worried that the new administration would shift course, calling into question Canada’s commitment to fighting alongside the U.S. in the wars of the 21st century.
Canada’s new defense minister, Harjit Sajjan, defended his country’s new national security and foreign policy course. …
He explained the rationale for some controversial decisions, like Canada’s pledge to remove its fighter aircraft from the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Airstrikes will not succeed, he argued, without a stronger focus on training local forces on the ground and fighting the root causes of radicalization in Muslim communities. …
Sajjan said that although no final decisions had been made, Canada would base its fighter jet purchases based on its needs and requirements. He said Canada was committed to replacing and upgrading its existing fleet of F-18 fighters. Pressed to address the possible abandoning of the F-35 program as a symbolic step away from cooperation with Washington, he said he just didn’t see it that way.
20 November
Politics notebook: Obama applauds Trudeau in closed-door meeting
Senior Liberals in Antalya, Turkey, are pretty excited that Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama seem to be hitting it off.
(Globe & Mail) Canada’s new Prime Minister had already spoken twice by phone with the President of the United States and they are scheduled to have their first formal meeting later this week at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit in Manila.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau shared a bit of what he saw as one of the few people in the closed-door meetings of G20 world leaders.
“One of the most interesting moments in the meeting was when President Obama, in his comments said – and this is pretty much a direct quote, as much as I can remember it exactly – ‘I applaud Justin for his willingness to stimulate the economy through fiscal stimulus.’ So that was his comment to his entire room,” said Mr. Morneau Sunday evening.

One Comment on "Canada-U.S. 2015-17"

  1. Stephen K. April 26, 2017 at 11:38 am · Reply

    One important aspect about the Trump dump on Canada: It affords Trump the opportunity to show his supporters that he keeps his word about building more jobs for Americans by eliminating unfair trade deals to ensure his America First principles are upheld. It is easy to pick on Canada, principally because we’re such nice people and Americans have been fed all the wrong information to support Trump’s actions. Trump is like Romney: Don’t try to back-check his facts because he really doesn’t care and will repeat the same “fake news” -to use his expression – .to develop and sustain his wrongheadedness.
    We are the political victims. It is that simple. Trade, per se, in this instance doesn’t really matter. It is simply the most ready tool in his current arsenal for his core people.. And the Americans won’t back down on Softwood Lumber or Dairy Products. They can’t. Stephen K.

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