The Trade Deal from America’s Perspective is: “A Win”

The Niagara Independent, October 5, 2018 – Tuesday morning the CBC ran a headline story: “‘Yay!’: How the Canadians won the argument that opened the door to a NAFTA deal” reporting a confident Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying, “There was [on Saturday] a sense things were falling into place.” In most news reports this week Canadians have been reassured that PM Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (dubbed “the warrior princess”) were victorious in wrestling U.S. President Donald Trump to concede to Canadian terms on an improved NAFTA deal.

That is the Canadian story. But, how is this 11th hour deal being received south of the border? (Warning: Americans have a remarkably different take.)

The Washington Post called President Trump one of the big winners with the agreement: “USMCA does make substantial changes to modernize trade rules in effect from 1994 to 2020, and it gives some wins to U.S. farmers and blue-collar workers in the auto sector. Trump beat his doubters, and his team can now turn to the No. 1 trade target: China.”

Bloomberg News assessed the deal will be seen as a trade win for the president in the run-up to November’s midterm elections. The NY Post Editorial furthered this praise:  “We’ll admit that the president’s approach left us nervous, but it’s hard to argue with the result: Trump has once again delivered on a campaign promise that his rivals called a fantasy. A politician who does what he says he’ll do: Imagine that.”

The most pointed accolade was on the front page headline of Monday’s NY Post:  “Trump wins revised NAFTA with Canada.”

Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. lead trade negotiator, gave full credit for the success of the deal to the President: “Your leadership, vision and grit made this agreement possible. No other person could have done it…”

The President, in his hyperbolic style, called the deal “the single greatest achievement of all time” as he claimed victory for the American worker with a deal that will “pour cash and jobs” into the U.S.

Political and economic analysts immediately recognized in the USMCA text that Americans got major concessions, the biggest being improved access to Canada’s dairy market. The Wall Street Journal observed the deal provides US dairy farmers access to about 3.5 percent of Canada’s $16 billion dairy market. “It gradually opens the Canadian market to more exported American dairy products, including fluid milk, cream, butter, skim milk powder, cheese and other dairy products.”

There are significant incentives for more American auto production as cars imported from Canada and Mexico will now need 75 percent American content (up from the current 62.5 percent). This will force automakers to source fewer car parts from Germany, Japan, South Korea or China. Mr. Lighthizer stated these changes will result in bringing more car production back to the United States.

U.S. got significant provisions to extend to 10 years the intellectual property protections of American pharmaceutical companies selling prescription drugs in Canada. The result is Canadians will pay more for biologic drugs. A new IP provision also impacts Canadian copyright law, which will now need to protect creative works to 70 years after the artist’s death.

Behind these headline issues, Americans received these concessions from Canada.

  • American imposed steel and aluminum tariffs are not lifted as part of the deal.
  • There is no opening up of government procurement processes as Bloomberg News reports the “Buy American” rules that block cross-border procurement appear untouched.
  • American financial services companies gain better access to Canadian and Mexican markets.
  • The deal does not update the list of professions eligible to work cross-border with special visas – something Canada was seeking for IT professionals looking for easier access to work in the U.S.
  • The new deal gives the USMCA partners the right to review and assess any trade deal one country may sign with a “non-market” country (which may restrict Canada’s ability to negotiate a trade deal with China for example.)

What is as remarkable as these details made public in American news sources on Monday is the fact that, on Tuesday trade news had been buried to the back financial pages, and on Wednesday “the single greatest achievement of all time” was nowhere to be found in American media.

 

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. 

LINK: https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-trade-deal-from-americas-perspective-is-a-win/

 

Freedom of the Press

South of the Canadian border there is a raging war over the legitimacy of media organizations. There is a growing disrespect and a new disregard for traditional news sources – and it is being fueled by politicians, corporations, and news media itself.  Our mainstream media is assaulted on all fronts for its bias, uneven and “yellow” journalism. The public is increasingly doubtful that news organs are providing the facts of a matter. The end result of this assault is a growing cynicism and rejection of traditional media.

Today, the popular and overused phrase for any news item that may not suit the reader/viewer is to coin it “fake news.” Many will differentiate between facts and alternative facts and this is based on which set of facts may best fit a person’s own bias. There are no “bald truths” that are recognized universally – or so it seems.

There are no recognized, universal truths and no recognized conveyors of truth. We find in many cases, with the proliferation of Internet news sites and blogs and social media platforms, mainstream media and its unbiased news reporting is being replaced by opinionated editorializing of news events. Remarkably, there are generations of younger people who receive their news on select social media and from sources that reflect their own world-view.

This is not only occurring in the United States. The erosion of credible (critical/non bias) news sources is also happening in our country. This is a serious matter.

One of the founding fathers of the United States, John Adams, made a sage observation about the necessity of a nation’s media, “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom.” This week, remarkably, American media has felt it necessary to take the unprecedented step to have to explain this fundamental idea. In hundreds of editorials across the country yesterday, the mainstream news media lashed out at President Donald Trump and his enduring rant against the U.S. fourth estate.

CNN has compiled the over 350 news organizations that participated in this campaign for the minds of the public.

What is at stake is the credibility and authority of a free (non-state) media. The New York Times provided an accurate assessment of our current state of affairs:

“In 2018, some of the most damaging attacks are coming from government officials. Criticizing the news media — for underplaying or overplaying stories, for getting something wrong — is entirely right. News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job. But insisting that truths you don’t like are “fake news” is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the “enemy of the people” is dangerous, period.”

In editorial after editorial, American news have tried to bring some perspective to this issue:

  • A person who blasts reliable news sources as fake when they prove him wrong on an issue, or when it reveals his self-contradictions or his ignorance, or whenever he simply doesn’t like it, is denying reality. – Idyllwood Town Crier (CA)
  • Journalists are trying to do a job. We’re not trying to tear down our nation. We’re trying to strengthen it. For we believe in the foundational premise behind the First Amendment – that our nation is stronger if its people are informed. – Mercury News and East Bay Times (CA)
  • Americans may not like the news they see or hear buy they should not hold that against those who report it. In short, don’t shoot the messenger. – The Lakeville Journal and the Millertown News (NY)
  • We take pride in our work and our daily mission to bring you the latest news in an accurate and fair manner, but we also take pride in the community we call home. – Ocala Star-Banner (FL)
  • America’s press is not without its criticism. However, there is no other industry in the United States that opens itself for criticism so regularly and so transparently. – Houghton Lake Report (MI)

Last word on the American media dust up goes to the NY Post editorial “Hate the press all you want – we’ll keep reporting.” Post editors write:

It may be frustrating to argue that just because we print inconvenient truths doesn’t mean that we’re fake news, but being a journalist isn’t a popularity contest. All we can do is to keep reporting.

 

(So, consider what Canadian news rooms are confronting with the federal government’s continual filtration and rewriting of our news… or the new tactic by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who wants to control the actual items that are recorded for news. Canadians should be as weary and concerned… )

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Canada-U.S. Trade Talks Saga

The Canada-U.S. Trade Talks Saga is a three-part series first printed in The Niagara Independent.

 

Part One

In Ottawa, there are two prevailing threads of thought on what has become the never-ending saga of the Canada-U.S. Trade Talks. One is rallying behind Prime Minister Trudeau and supporting the Liberal Government’s attempt to reason with an unpredictable U.S. President. The second is highly critical, suggesting that the Liberals are purposely sabotaging the negotiations for their own domestic political gains. The next three columns will review the political gamesmanship between Canada and the U.S. and assess what all the public posturing may mean for the outcome of the trade talks – and for the 2019 federal election.

CLICK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-canada-u-s-trade-talks-saga-part-one/

 

Part Two

This is the second of a three column series on the Canada-U.S. trade talks. This column reflects on the criticism that the Liberals have purposely sabotaged the trade negotiations for their political gain in an election year.

Not all are supportive of the Trudeau Government’s trade negotiation tactics with the United States.

CLICK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-canada-u-s-trade-talks-saga-part-two/

 

Part Three

This is the third of a three column series on the Canada-U.S. trade talks, reviewing our National Leaders’ political gamesmanship and assessing what it means for the outcome of the trade talks – and for the 2019 federal election.

CLICK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-canada-u-s-trade-talks-saga-part-three/

 

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

The Canada-U.S. Trade Talks Saga (Part One)

The Niagara Independent, July 6, 2018 – In Ottawa, there are two prevailing threads of thought on what has become the never-ending saga of the Canada-U.S. Trade Talks. One is rallying behind Prime Minister Trudeau and supporting the Liberal Government’s attempt to reason with an unpredictable U.S. President. The second is highly critical, suggesting that the Liberals are purposely sabotaging the negotiations for their own domestic political gains. The next three columns will review the political gamesmanship between Canada and the U.S. and assess what all the public posturing may mean for the outcome of the trade talks – and for the 2019 federal election.

For months, Ottawa’s political networks and national press corps have been wholly focused on U.S. President Donald Trump and his every utterance on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canadians are anxious. Given the magnitude of trade between our two countries, NAFTA has a large impact on our country’s economic growth and maintaining our standard of living.

A number of Canadian political and business leaders are supportive of the Trudeau Liberals’ trade efforts to date. Almost all are sympathetic and defending PM Trudeau in the wake of the disastrous wrap-up to the recent G7 Economic Summit. Today, the personal and working relationships between a Canadian PM and a US President (and, therefore, the fate of the NAFTA talks) have never appeared on more unstable ground. A pivotal moment passed at the G7 Summit and there are many conflicting accounts about what exactly happened. But, after assuming the two leaders had come to an agreement on core elements of a trade deal in their private conversations, President Trump took insult to the PMs closing remarks. The President went on a multi-tweet rant about how PM Trudeau had blindsided him, insulting Trudeau as “very dishonest and weak.” The President’s trade advisor Peter Navarro said there was a “special place in hell” for Trudeau for betraying the President.

That outbreak immediately evoked base reactions. Somewhat diplomatically, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland stated her nation “does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks” (and then just a few days later in Washington she made not-so-subtle comparisons between Trump and Hitler).

The PMs comments and the subsequent name calling served to galvanize Canadians’ feelings of uneasiness and disapproval with the U.S. President. Being the victim of the President’s scorn, Trudeau gained newfound support in his negotiating stance with the President. Former PM Brian Mulroney stated: “I’ve never seen language like this. Least of all from subordinates of the president directed at the prime minister of their greatest friend and ally. This, I’ve never seen before. Nor has anybody else… International negotiations, they have their ebbs and flows. This is an ebb.”

John Manley, former Liberal deputy prime minister, who now serves as president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, publicly stated that though it may be “very tough,” the Trudeau government must “stay the course.” Manley offered this advice: “I think that maybe Prime Minister Trudeau should consult with, I don’t know, a psychologist or somebody to say, ‘How do I deal with an important counterpart who has this tendency to narcissistic personality disorder?’”

Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada, said, “It’s kind of like if you were sitting with a friend and then out of the blue, you just punched them in the face. The wounds will heal, but the question [is] how does the relationship get impacted?… I think it was a line crossed and a bridge too far. They owe you an apology.”

(Yet, for Canadians, better than an apology would be a signature on a trade agreement.)

 

Next week: Have the Liberals purposely sabotaged the trade negotiations for their political gain in an election year?

Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. ChrisG.George@gmail.com

 

LINK:  https://niagaraindependent.ca/the-canada-u-s-trade-talks-saga-part-one/

 

President Trump’s health care package

News Flash:  The American Medical Association has weighed in on Trump’s health care package:

The Allergists were in favour of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was labouring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!” while the Pediatricians said, “Oh, grow up!”

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.

The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would “put a whole new face on the matter.”

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

 

(Thank you to all who stuff our e-mailbox daily with jokes and articles. By George attempts to re-post as many of the funniest political jokes – with the condition that they are not mean spirited. Hope you will enjoy them: posts tagged joke.)

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.