U.S./Canada Relations: Liberals Realign and Adjust from “Bromance” to “World Stage” Trumpism

U.S./Canada Relations: Liberals Realign and Adjust from “Bromance” to “World Stage” Trumpism

Updated February 12, 2017

“PROPHETIC” CAMPAIGN ELECTION PROMISES “REAL CHANGE” and “WE’RE BACK” on the world stage. Perhaps what goes around really comes around.

Accordingly, the above captioned 2015 electoral platform, a promise made in the context of the Obama U.S. administration’s first act of FOREIGN POLICY – a cooperation agreement with Canada on “Energy and the Environment”- then charging, in an act of politics, former Conservative Prime Minister Harper’s failure to seize that opportunity, only to then adopt his emission targets.

The accompanying platform pledge was – within 90 days of the U.N. Paris Climate summit, “I’ll meet with the Premiers to build a plan to fight Climate Change by heeding Science while balancing the Environment and the Economy together,” a political concept that Conservatives purportedly did not understand, a concept imposing and balancing “Carbon Taxes” with Trade “Competitiveness.”

Within the period of 15 months, other promises of electoral reform, modest deficits and balanced budgets, have fallen off the rails or by the wayside well before democratically elected U.S. President Donald Trump was inaugurated on January 20th 2017, the tacit leader of the free world. Some would describe the function as a “Beacon” of “Pluralism in the world”- an historic status.

Others, in the wake of U.S. Election wrangling in political defeat, have already characterized the President’s “win-lose” philosophy as threatening “peace and stability around the GLOBE” by dismantling the U.S.’ relationships with trusted ALLIES and Trading Partners. These matters of GEOPOLITICS, occur at a time when persecution, terror and war are fanning the flames of intolerance and hate, U.N emotive characterizations aside.

Key among the recent events, the U.S. President’s Executive Order, “The Ban,” concerns in part the matter of “illegal refugees” and the provisions of the Canada and U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, (2004). This is a part of the U.S.- Canada SMART BORDER ACTION PLAN.

To date, the United States is the only country designated as a Safe Third Country by Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The agreement does not apply to U.S. Citizens or habitual residents of the U.S. who are not citizens of any country (“stateless persons.”)

In Canada, it would seem the articulation of FOREIGN, DEFENCE, NATIONAL and PUBLIC SECURITY POLICIES integrally extend well beyond the fulfillment of election promises such as: UN missions, to AFRICA, withdrawal from bombing missions in IRAQ and the short term expensive protracted exercises and delays associated with acquiring the best equipment, at the BEST VALUE, for our men and women in uniform.

All the while such things as building an inclusive social framework, “strengthening the economy,” “middle class” and “investing for the future of our society,” infrastructure for our children and grandchildren is a balanced budget-deficit conundrum and a work in progress. “Deliverables” stretch well beyond the government’s current mandate, and concurrently impact Canada’s up or down trade competitiveness internationally.

Following the U.S. President’s inaugural mandate, Oil pipelines, NAFTA renegotiation, NATO contributions, Defense and Continental-National Security now overshadow the remnants of Liberal Political promises “world stage” U.N. Security Council ambitions amidst evident genocide, war crimes and viral, infectious extremism of many stripes.

The consequences of the U.S President’s intent to reshape “FREE” Trade to one of fair and mutual exchange puts Canada-U.S. Relations and the renegotiation of NAFTA in the spotlight of a new agenda for the Government that resulted in a cabinet shuffle, a new cabinet committee structure and revised ministerial mandate letters.

Summarily, the Cabinet Committee on Canada-U.S. relations chaired by the Minister of Transport, vice-Chair the Minister of Public Safety considers issues concerning the fostering of strong relations and the advancement of mutual interests.

The 2015 Liberal election platform to bring REAL CHANGE to the Canada-U.S. Relationship and return to a productive engagement is prophetic. As for Trade Agreements, after some 20 years significant REAL CHANGE has already occurred over the intervening productive period of Canadian exports were/are United States bound.

The SLOGAN, “United States needs us” evidently stretches the notion of mutual exchange under current circumstances. It is time for the “liberal long bomb” of meet and greet, review, reform, realignment and deliverables on Canada-U.S. mutual interests-JOBS, COMPETITIVENESS and the ECONOMY, before the next cabinet change and the election in 2019.

Welcome back from the 90s to the future: An updated “Pan-Canadian,” “Team Canada” trade branding to embrace the United States’, the CETA Groups’, Chinese, and Indian markets is a good start “market access tool.” The meat and potatoes rest in the art of the deal and the removal of regulatory irritants and preferential government interventions…more to come.

Kevin Murray was instrumental in implementing the 1990s’ “Team Canada” concept for industrial sectoral interests as well as the China market entry initiative. Team Canada is a take on the 1972 Canada hockey victory over Russia. Team Canada involved the engagement of provinces, as a display of National Unity at the time of the Quebec referendum.

Kevin Murray-Mourne is a former Trade Commissioner for Space, Aerospace, Defence and Security with the Department of External Affairs and International Trade Canada. He is a Veteran of Her Majesty’s Armed forces. He attended the Canadian Centre for Management Development, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Institute and is a Graduate of the American Management Associations Management Program.

Helpful links:

Last week the Canada U.S. Business Council informed Upfront Ottawa they had launched their wish list of the top 10 suggestions for renegotiating NAFTA.

An essay on positive, effective longstanding CANADA-US relationships, by Newt Gingrich, Transition-Co Chair for the new Trump administration. (in the lead up to President Trump’s inauguration, written for the Canada/U.S Business Council.)

NAFTA, TPP, CETA, BREXIT

How Canada can lead a bold, New Trade Agenda-We can pitch truly innovative deals Ottawa Citizen, Opinion, February 11th 2017-Randolph Mank, a three time Canadian Ambassador who serves on the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

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Author

Kevin B. Murray
Kevin Murray-Mourne is a former Trade Commissioner for Space, Aerospace, Defence and Security with the Department of External Affairs and International Trade Canada. He is a Veteran of Her Majesty’s Armed forces. He attended the Canadian Centre for Management Development, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Institute and is a Graduate of the American Management Associations Management Program.