It should be headline news everywhere in Canada, there should be follow-up story upon follow-up story.
The Canada-U.S. trade talks on NAFTA are going so badly there have not been negotiations in weeks.
“We don’t have any active negotiations. I haven’t talked to them in a little while,” Canada’s chief negotiator Steve Verheul said last Friday.
The incredibly honest Verheul was being asked by members of the NAFTA advisory council how things were going. The question came in the middle of a photo op with cameras capturing it all.
“Two or three weeks,” Verheul explained when asked how long since the last talks. “I’ll have the odd conversation, but no real engagement, no real negotiation session.”
We should be shocked at such news but most of Canada’s media is too busy chasing the latest story on Donald Trump to report on what is happening here before their eyes.
Our media looks elsewhere.
We are treated to stories on why Canadians should be outraged at Trump rather than how the trading relationship with our biggest trading partner is falling apart.
In his end of session news conference last week Trudeau admitted that he had not spoken to Donald Trump since the U.S. president left the G7 in Quebec, threatening new tariffs on Canada, including on autos.
Shouldn’t that prompt a phone call?
But Trudeau said the pair had not spoken and he had no plans to speak to Trump until the NATO leaders meeting that starts on July 11th.
Considering the 160,000 jobs that could be lost if auto tariffs come in, Trudeau should be making this a priority, calling Trump, lobbying him, visiting Washington if he needs to.
Instead, he is acting as if nothing is on the line.
Trudeau is failing.
Trudeau spent the weekend attending St. Jean Baptiste celebrations across Quebec and then promptly came home to take two “personal” days according to the itineraries released by his office.
The single biggest file for any Canadian prime minister, trade, is a flaming dumpster fire under Trudeau and he doesn’t seem to notice.
It isn’t just the NAFTA negotiations either.
Trudeau botched Canada’s signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership by skipping out on the signing ceremony, annoying our trade partners and delaying a deal.
Why? He wanted to meet with a Facebook executive.
We eventually signed on to TPP but have not ratified it.
Don’t you think with the Americans constantly threatening more tariffs that securing more markets might be wise? Before the House of Commons rose for the summer the Conservatives offered to help pass the bill to implement the TPP in a expedited fashion.
The Liberals said no.
We know that internally we can’t get our oil to markets and can’t get pipelines built. Fewer know that Canada is having trouble getting our wheat and other grains to market because the rail lines are busy moving oil that we should be moving by pipeline.
International customers are growing impatient with Canada’s inability to deliver.
Canada is not a place to invest.
We’ve also created an environment that makes Canada a less attractive place to invest. While the United States is peeling back regulations and cutting taxes, Canada is adding on both counts.
Economist Herbert Grubel recently pointed out that foreign direct investment in Canada is down by about half since the Trudeau Liberals came to power from about $60 billion a year in 2015 to about $30 billion last year.
Meanwhile Canadian investment abroad is growing.
Nowhere is this more striking than in the Bakken oilfields.
In a field that crosses the Canada-U.S. border, investment on the North Dakota side is three times higher than the Saskatchewan side.
The reasons are simple, taxes and regulation.
Beyond the tariffs and Trump’s bombast, the Americans are making it easier to do business south of the border.
Here is Canada, Justin Trudeau, when he pays attention to the business environment, is doing everything he can to make sure you invest elsewhere.