A Canadian Snow Job at the Ronald Reagan Library

By Debra Tash

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, spoke at the Reagan Library February 9th, Friday evening.  The 46 year old Trudeau did several stops around the United States touting the virtues of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The treaty is nearly 30 years old and is the outgrowth of the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which preceded it on January 1, 1989.  NAFTA was a much broader agreement, including not only Canada and the United States but Mexico. It came into effect on January 1, 1994 under the Clinton administration.  It is now being renegotiated, hence the youthful Prime Minister’s campaign to keep the tenants of the original agreement in place.

From the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative:

“On May 18, 2017, following consultations with relevant Congressional committees, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer informed Congress that the President intends to commence negotiations with Canada and Mexico with respect to the NAFTA. Through these negotiations, the United States seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the U.S. economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico.”

Trudeau began his well practiced speech by telling the audience he would like to have a conversation and he reminisced about Ronald Reagan’s visit to Canada in 1981 shortly after the president’s first inauguration.  Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was prime minister.  The younger Trudeau recalls Reagan asking him if he liked westerns and all the pleasantries exchanged. Trudeau’s father compared politics between the two nations as “Fire and Ice.” And that being the United States’ northern neighbor was like a mouse sleeping beside an elephant.  Justin Trudeau choose to differ with his late father in that, to him, Canada was more a moose, weighty and not easily pushed over.

He pointed out that the two nations were allies in the wars of the last century and that Canada would always be an ally.  They had worked out mutually beneficial environmental agreements in the past such as the 1991 Acid Rain Accord.  And on FTA and NAFTA, the United States has no better friend.  According to Trudeau it has benefited the working class and that the US imports 40% of its crude oil/fossil fuel needs from its neighbor and during the life of the trade agreements the US has created 33 million jobs.  He never addressed how much of those jobs were directly related to trade, let alone trade with Canada.  He also forgot to mention that there are tariffs exacted on American goods imported by our neighbor to the north and that Canadian goods flow into the United States without such additional costs imposed.   

He touted NAFTA has a way to help income equality and collectively share the benefits of global trade.

The Prime Minister then wound his talk back to the two countries being comrades in arms and pointed out that there were Canadian firefighters who helped battle the recent conflagrations devastating our state, just as we helped them with the Fort McMurray Wildfire in 2016.

He asked that we not raise fresh barriers and stated the trade agreement invented the idea of North America.

Trudeau’s motorcade was involved in an accident upon leaving the venue at 7:30 PM. A California Highway Patrol officer was injured when a car turned left in front of the motorcycle escort.  Two other people were also injured, the driver of the car and her child.

There were over 1000 in attendance at the Reagan, including a very strong contingent from the Canadian Consulate.  While in the area Trudeau met with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  They discussed trade as they hiked around Griffith Observatory.

The Video of the Event is below:


Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.


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