Our ‘Pollyanna’ foreign minister.

You have to be very gullible to believe the statements Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland has been making after each of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sessions. It seems lately that only Mexico is being obdurate over those proposed clauses that will harm that country’s positions. And yet the current deadline was set to accommodate Mexico’s upcoming presidential election.

But what deadline is Canada working towards? While Freeland is basking in the limelight, she also seems to be accomplishing very little.

It seems that her objective of keeping NAFTA alive is becoming riskier. Nothing is really happening. As we expected would happen all along, the question is hung on the vestiges of the old Canada-U.S. Auto Pact. Did emissaries from General Motors and Ford get to Trump and tell him that it would take as much as six years, rather than six months, to untangle their North American auto production?

And when President Trump is proving for all to see that he is unafraid of unilateral decisions that can lead to world wars, why should he worry about auto parts? He just keeps making impossible demands that nobody can satisfy. Few of us have ever followed a simple auto part from manufacture, through various assemblies and finally to a customer. It is a long journey across many borders and through many hands.

But Canada’s Pollyanna foreign minister keeps on mugging it for the cameras and talking about progress when what she really should be doing is talking to the American negotiators about is how to cancel the deal. These people are deluding themselves anyway, why not throw some cold water on them?

What she needs is a comic book presentation of what NO-NAFTA looks like for Mr. Trump and his claque. It will start with absolutely no automobile production in North America because nobody could afford cars that cost three times as much to build. And Americans could hardly count on imports when their government would have to apply huge import tariffs to protect the few American jobs that can be retained. And there would be fewer jobs in America anyway as other countries throw up tariff walls to preserve their industries.

It has been interesting watching Freeland play the Pollyanna approach but at some time we need to throw in a dose of reality. We just need to make sure that it is communicated in a simple form that Trump and his foolish followers can understand.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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