A former US trade representative has revealed that the Trudeau government had a softwood lumber deal with the Obama administration, but Trudeau decided to hold out for a better deal after Donald Trump became President.
According to former trade rep Michael Froman a deal was almost done, but negotiations “petered out after the election,” when some in Canada “preferred to take their chances with Trump.”
How’s that working out?
Froman’s revelation of Trudeau’s trade failure is something we should take very seriously. Because, while we can’t change the past, it is instructive as we look to the future.
After all, Canada has a tremendous amount at stake in our negotiations with the United States.
It is deeply disturbing that Trudeau foolishly threw away a chance at a softwood deal, all so he could negotiate with someone known to the entire world as a ruthless deal-maker.
Really, what was he expecting?
While Froman very diplomatically tried to avoid directly blaming Justin Trudeau for blowing the deal, any decision to cancel those negotiations would have come from the top of the federal government.
That raises a disturbing question:
What kind of poor judgement would have made Trudeau and his government think they should throw away a chance at ending the decades-long softwood lumber deal?
It was a horrible error in judgement, and the softwood lumber industry is now paying the price.
The trade dispute is not over
According to Froman, steel could be next up for a Canada-US trade battle. As Froman told CBC, “I think there are some other issues that they are focusing on that may have an effect on Canada such as steel or aluminum to the degree that those issues are now being reviewed, or might be reviewed, from a national security perspective.”
The Trump administration is investigating whether there are national security dangers from importing foreign steel. Much of the steel imported into the US comes from Canada.
We have to face reality: Canada is now facing serious trade difficulties, and our economy faces massive negative consequences if our relationship with the United States degrades.
As Froman revealed, Trudeau has shown very poor judgement in dealing with the US, combined with policies that make our economy less competitive. It’s the worst of both worlds, and it doesn’t bode well for our future as long as Trudeau is in power.