On the heels of an arbitrary — and, it turns out, unnecessary — deadline, Canada, Mexico and the United States have finalized a renegotiation the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
Italy has learned from Donald Trump that Canada is now the enemy of the West.
In an interview with the newspaper La Stampa, the country’s new agriculture minister, Gian Marco Centinaio of the far-right League, said he would ask parliament not to ratify the trade agreement the EU negotiated with Canada in 2016.
Without ratification by all 28 member states, the treaty cannot go into effect for the entire European Union. Read more “Italy Joins Trump in Resisting Canadian Trade”
This weekend’s G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada could hardly have gone worse.
Even a boilerplate communiqué, which reiterated the rich nations’ commitment to free and fair trade, was undermined at the last minute, when American president Donald Trump repudiated the text. Read more “Trump to G6: Drop Dead”
Every election now gets compared to America’s 2016 presidential contest, but the analogy fits really well in today’s election in Ontario, Canada’s largest province. Read more “Ontario State Poll Resembles America’s 2016 Election”
American allies are coping with Donald Trump’s disruptive presidency in similar ways, a collection of essays in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine reveals:
- All feel they need to step up and defend the liberal world order as Trump is determined to put “America first”.
- They worry that a new era of American isolationism could make the world poorer and less safe.
- Leaders are doing their best to rein in Trump’s worst impulses and most of their voters understand the need for pragmatism, although they have little faith in this president. Read more “Allies Hope for the Best from Trump, Must Plan for the Worst”
Joseph Heath, a professor at the University of Toronto, sees five reasons why Canada has been more successful at integrating migrants than Europe and the United States:
- Very little illegal immigration. This helps explain the difference in attitudes with the United States but not with Western Europe, where illegal immigration is also low.
- A political system that encourages moderation. I think this has more to do with political culture than the system. Heath argues that first-past-the-post makes it difficult for nativists to prevail. Parties need to appeal to the center. But it doesn’t stop nativists from influencing the mainstream right, as they did in the United Kingdom. To stem defections to UKIP that could split the right-wing vote and allow Labour to sneak into first place, the Conservatives felt they had to become more insular. And clearly in a two-party system, like America’s, nativists can come out on top.
- Immigrants are part of larger nation-building project. Immigrants ended up strengthening Canadians’ sense of nationhood because, unlike the First Nations, Westerners and Quebecers, they embraced national symbols. Persuasive, but it’s hard to see how other countries could mimic this.
- Protection of majority culture clear from the start. This is rooted in Canada’s unique history but could be a lesson to others. Heath argues that the need to appease Quebecers led to equal cultural and language protections for the English and French, as a result of which the majority felt unthreatened by newcomers.
- Bringing people in from all over. I think this is the key. There is no “majority minority” in Canada. Heath reports that, in a typical year, no group makes up more than 15 percent of the total number of immigrants. Hence no parallel societies could emerge in Canada, like the predominantly Muslim banlieues of Paris, immigrant-heavy neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Latino districts in major cities across the United States. Their existence hinders assimilation and makes visible the threat immigrants pose to the dominant culture. Read more “Immigration Lessons from Canada”
NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Act, but President Donald Trump does not.
After campaigning on a promise to repeal the act, then adapting his position to that of merely supporting the act’s renegotiation, Trump recently announced that he would no longer tolerate the status quo arrangement for American imports of dairy and forestry products originating from Canada. Read more “Can Canada Resist Trump’s Offensive on NAFTA?”
Canada is often considered to be a haven from geopolitics, a nation relatively free from economic want or political cant. But if by geopolitics we refer simply to the influence of geography upon politics, Canada may in fact be a prime place to study it, if only because the country posseses so much of the former when in comparison to the latter.
The basic fact of Canadian geopolitics is this: more Canadians live in the city of Toronto than live in the 2,500-kilometer expanse of land separating Toronto from Alberta. Read more “Why Ontario Plays Such a Central Role in Canadian Politics”
The Socialist-led regional government of Belgium’s French-speaking south, which had stalled ratification of a European trade pact with Canada, agreed to support the treaty after all on Thursday.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union will itself not change.
But the Belgians do ask for a four-page addition to the 1,600-page treaty, which must be endorsed by all four of Belgium’s regional parliaments as well as the 27 other EU member states before the full accord can come into force. Read more “What Did Walloons Get from Resisting Canada Trade Pact?”
Regional legislators in the south of Belgium are persisting in their opposition to a European free trade accord with Canada.
I reported here earlier this year that a majority of lawmakers in French-speaking Wallonia are against the treaty, which proposes to eliminate tariffs on almost all goods and services traded between Canada and Europe. The pact is projected to raise transatlantic trade by more than €25 billion per year.
The Walloons worry that European countries will be pressured into weakening their environmental standards and labor laws as a result of the treaty. (Fears that are overblown.)
But there is also a political dimension to their resistance. Read more “The Politics of Wallonia’s Resistance to Canada Trade Deal”