It’s Time for Justin Trudeau to Think Smart About Trade, Not Pander for Trump Hate Votes

NTD Staff
By NTD Staff
August 30, 2018Opinion
It’s Time for Justin Trudeau to Think Smart About Trade, Not Pander for Trump Hate Votes
President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, on June 8, 2018. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
NTD Photo
Manny Montenegrino

As President Donald Trump left the G7 meeting for the Singapore summit aboard Air Force One, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference that would end up bringing Trump’s attention to Canada and leaving team Canada with no leverage as they now enter talks to finalize NAFTA.

When Trudeau announced his firm stance in moving forward with retaliatory measures for the tariffs Trump slapped on steel and aluminum on May 31, he waited to levy equivalent tariffs until July 1—Canada Day—demonstrating a complete lack of acumen in dealing with Trump. This was also another sign that trade talks are a tool for the Prime Minister’s Office to gain votes—using Canada Day patriotism.

Some, like former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, say Trudeau is playing politics to win Trump hate votes. One thing is certain: The Trudeau government is in a very weak position. Since Aug. 27, Mexico has been driving trilateral talks regarding NAFTA.

From the beginning of the NAFTA talks, Trump made it very clear that Canada was not a problem and that it was Mexico’s $50 billion trade deficit that was the primary concern. Trudeau responded many times that he would not do a deal without Mexico. Now Trudeau is in a position he never expected: Mexico did the deal without Canada.

The fake virtue signaling to not do a deal without Mexico has now failed. In earlier talks, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was angry at Trudeau’s team for not backing increased wages in Mexico, according to Chris Sands, head of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, in the National Post. This indicates that Trudeau’s team was not negotiating fairly and was trying to thwart free trade talks. This may be the reason Canada was left out of future talks until the United States and Mexico reached a deal.

Trump is not a mean bully as most of the mainstream media make him out to be. His rhetoric leading into negotiations can be intense, but the outcomes are generally mutually beneficial, as is evident with the new bilateral deal with Mexico that is set to increase the cost of labor, benefiting Mexicans building cars.

What a great thing for Mexico!

Even prior to the deal with Mexico, Trump had very successful talks with several countries.

Since Trump already has made a deal with Mexico, Canada is in a position with no leverage.

Canada now must take Mexico’s deal. Trump knows Trudeau won’t move on issues like supply chain management for the dairy industry. This means Trump now has a green light to apply tariffs to the auto sector, which is exactly what Trump has wanted from the very beginning—to help revive the auto sector in Ohio and Michigan by moving $100 billion back from Canada.

“One thing is coming up very clearly, whether you’re talking about NAFTA or the relationship between Europe and the United States: For Donald Trump, it is first and foremost about the automotive industry,” Jean Charest, former Quebec premier, said on BNN.

Every country understands its vulnerability compared to the United States, and they know Trump has the advantage. Both the United States and Canada know autos are the core of NAFTA. It’s scary to think that Trudeau’s politically motivated tough stance toward an otherwise reasonable concession could result in a huge disaster for the 190,000 auto workers in Canada and the nation’s GDP.

Trudeau’s decision to firmly resist the reasonable proposal toward free trade, despite Trump’s success with every other trading partner, including Japan and South Korea, was the wrong direction and speaks volumes to his true intent.

Trudeau’s chief adviser, Gerald Butts, took to Twitter celebrating the firm stance toward Trump’s trade proposal, even though the NAFTA talks had gone silent. “If the Conservatives were still in power, the government of Canada would have folded like a cheap tent to Trump by now,” said Butts in a June 28 tweet.

Twitter has a way of revealing the truth.

Boasting the Liberal government was gaining political points from taking a tough anti-Trump position is irresponsible and dangerous, knowing the risk it poses to the Canadian economy.

For countries considering opposing Trump to win votes, let this be a lesson. Don’t ignore the facts of Trump’s track record of results, and don’t play off the illusory narrative being pushed by left-leaning mainstream media outlets.

Riding on the fading wave of negative emotion being pushed by the fake news purveyors is a short-sighted strategy that risks damaging your country over the long run. Humble yourself to the fact that your country and its people need the United States more than the United States needs you.

Think smart about delivering the best results for your citizens, not pandering for Trump hate votes.

Manny Montenegrino is the president and CEO of Think Sharp Inc. He previously served as legal counsel to former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Follow him on twitter @manny_ottawa

From The Epoch Times

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.