NAFTA to deal or not

There is a lot of debate over whether Canada should accept a deal at any cost or if there are certain red lines we should insist on and walk away if not achieved.  I think we should try hard to preserve NAFTA but not at all costs.  If we capitulate that will send a message we are weak and just encourage the US to attack other industries.  Compromise yes provided the US does as well; that is what you do with any negotiation, but not blindly give in.  Trump may take the my way or highway approach but that doesn’t mean most in congress will and any change requires congressional approval.  Also states and businesses will be hurt if Canada is excluded and they can put a lot of pressure on Trump.  Sure he might not listen, but if the US economy is hurt, voters will punish him.  25% auto tariffs would be devastating to the auto industry, but it would also hurt the US economy too, particularly in the Rust Belt states which is what won Trump the election in 2016 so either he is bluffing and we should call it or he is incredibly stupid and will pay dearly if he follows through on this.

On the sticking points, I think removing chapter 19 is completely unacceptable as that puts us at the mercy of US courts, but I do think we can have some flexibility on how it is structured.  As for supply management, I am not against dismantling it some day, but that is a decision that should be done separately, not just to please Trump.  The reality is US heavily subsidizes their agriculture and there are more US dairy products imported into Canada, than Canadian ones into the US.  The most we should be willing to bend here is open up to a maximum of 2% of our market to US imports tariff free like we did with the TPP and CETA, no more and dairy farmers will get compensation.  In fact ironically had the US stayed in the TPP, they would have gained slightly more access to our market as we agreed to a slight opening there.  On culture, I support the idea of countries being able to protect and nurture their culture nonetheless a lot of our cultural protectionist policies will be irrelevant in 20 years whether on the books or not.  As younger generations are moving away from cable television, radio, and newsprint to internet, apple TV, smartphones, and satellite radio; past protectionist policies won’t matter as its mostly only older generations that still use traditional media as that is what they are used to, not the younger generation that grew up with the internet.  So if the government is smart there should be, not during trade negotiations, but elsewhere a radical overhaul of cultural policies that still try to achieve the same goals but recognize with technological changes past policies such as foreign ownership restrictions and Canadian content rules won’t work and instead things such as a Netflix tax or satellite licence to fund culture are ideas to consider or perhaps do more to market Canadian culture abroad so loss of consumption of Canadian culture by Canadians is offset by its growth abroad.

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