Two Car Parade or Ideological Refusal to Support Trade Deals?
One of two things happened in Vietnam late this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his staff proved once and for all that they are so incompetent that they could not organize a two-car parade, or the Trudeau government demonstrated that they were not committed to free or freer trade deals.
By now we have all heard that the Prime Minister, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, reneged on the agreement of our International Trade Minister with their Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) colleagues in Vietnam, and dodged the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that was trying to save the deal. The whole matter comes off with Canada looking pretty silly to the international community. First, the government sends our most senior Minister, the Prime Minister, and another senior Minister, the International Trade Minister, to APEC in Vietnam at considerable expense to the taxpayer. Whereby our Trade Minister agrees to the TPP because these things are scripted in advance in terms of weeks, if not months, and then our Prime Minister dodges the meeting to ratify the trade deal that his government already agreed to. Keep in mind, trade deals don’t get agreed to by Ministers unless they have been before cabinet in Memorandums to Cabinet and likely through at least two Cabinet Committees. So, there were no surprises here, the government knew what was on the line in Vietnam, otherwise the Prime Minister would not have dodged his Remembrance Day responsibilities and photo op to go to a far-off land and ruin his otherwise routine weekend.
Perhaps his staff really screwed up and his meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister went way over time and he missed the APEC Summit to save TPP. Far Fetched I grant you, but maybe not. This is the government whose Foreign Minister’s grand father was the leading NAZI propogandist in parts occupied Poland and Ukraine. This is the government whose Democratic Reform Minister did not know what country she was born in Afghanistan or Iran. This is the government after all that has a Minister of National Defence that claims credit for other people’s work and has stated his chief concern is to right the Sikh genocide. This is the government whose Environment Minister congratulated Syria on joining the Paris Accord as it ‘gassed’ its own people with nerve gas. This is the government whose Revenue Minister wants to tax teenagers who get discount meals or clothing in shops that they work in for minimum wage. And the Finance Minister is so incompetent, so conflicted, and so problemed by memory issues that he forgets his very own Chateau. Because we all forget that Chateau we own. Not surprisingly, the Prime Minister forgot the detailed costing of his family vacation on a private Island because he was afflicted with the same memory related malady of his Finance Minister. Governments are usually forgiven for stupidity and downright incompetence by the taxpayer because they seem to get second terms whether they deserve them or not. But we are reaching a level here in the Trudeau administration that does seem to ‘reach for the top.’ I am certain that there must be more incompetent Canadian governments than this one, surely there were, but can’t think of one off the top of my head. The fiasco at APEC could just be total incompetence and stupidity given the pattern of Ministerial failings of the Trudeau government. Two car parades are over-rated.
But it could just be intentional. It could be dogmatic ideology. It could be that the Trudeau liberals are not into trade at all. Remember when our then International Trade Minister, Chrystia Freeland, almost scuttled the Canada European Trade Agreement (CETA) by ‘stomping out’ over a regional government in Belgium’s reaction to the deal. She is now our Global Affairs Minister and was promoted after she nearly scuttled a multi-billion-dollar arrangement. Ottawa has been trying to scuttle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for months so that they can blame Donald Trump. There is not one person within ear shot of the Prime Minister’s Office or Parliament Hill that has not heard the “quick, quick, blame Trump refrain.” And now we have a Prime Minister and International Trade Minister who travelled half way round the world to agree to TPP, and then dodged a meeting to ratify it. It could be a staff error, there are so many. It could be a really complicated two-car parade. And It could be that the government just did not give two cents to a multi-billion-dollar trade arrangement. Stranger things have happened to governments looking for that elusive second term. But it could just be ideology, it could just be dogma, it could just be petty arrogance, and it could be just be a combination of both.
But don’t hold your breath for a NAFTA deal. Trump is not showing up to a meeting to reach a deal on NAFTA and to be snubbed by the likes of Trudeau. Trudeau has just killed NAFTA once and for all. You can decide if it is incompetence or ideological dogma.