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Trudeau U.S. visit delivers wake-up call about new North American reality

daftandbarmy

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Trudeau's legacy for Canada might be prolonged economic decline, hastened by our 'closest friend', fostered by dithering and weakness on the world stage and elsewhere:


What could Canada do differently?

Trudeau's own domestic critics might contend that some of our lost clout is self-inflicted. That Canada talks more than it contributes in world affairs, in terms of peacekeeping, foreign aid, or continental defence.

Or that Canada could, as Stephen Harper has suggested, have used the NAFTA renegotiation to try reverting back to a more one-on-one relationship with the U.S.

Or that Canada has frustrated the U.S. by not articulating a clear China policy or taking a stand on letting Huawei into the 5G network.

We can't test those counterfactuals now.

What we can do is take stock of the world as it currently is compared to the world we are accustomed to.

 

FJAG

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I remember a time growing up as a young boy in Toronto in the 60s when southern Ontario was the heart of Canada's manufacturing industry fueled by cheap hydroelectric power and local steel production. The country was a storehouse of raw materials. Any imports from China or Japan were in the cheap toys and trinkets category.

We've taken our eyes off the ball for a very long time and policy after policy has crippled that industry. Whether its the bundles of red tape which makes it difficult to start up and continue to run a business; the ever increasing costs of energy; the increasing labour costs; or our inability to compete on the quality of our products, we've fallen back to our exports being mostly resource-based rather than manufactured goods. That has always been a death knell for local industry going back to when cheap American grain destroyed the native British grain industry notwithstanding the Corn Laws.

Trudeau is the last in a long line of politicians incapable of dealing with a changing world. My guess is that he is not challenging China simply because China could lash out economically against Canada much more harshly than we could lash back. If we wish to cement our much more critical relationship with the US then we definitely need to do so. Baring Huawei is critical to that. I presume we haven't so far because the large telecoms are voluntarily staying away from them probably under some backroom pressure. It's a signal we need to send, however.

More importantly, we need to be super careful with our Green Energy programs. At the moment they are part of a Pollyanna day dream that will do nothing but lead to even higher energy costs which will cripple the few manufacturing industries we have left. If we want to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels we desperately need cheap electrical energy and I can't see beyond SMRs for that currently. They should be a government priority together with a sound plan for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel. If we want to have any possibility of reclaiming our manufacturing sector then that is a route we need to go.

🍻
 

Altair

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I remember a time growing up as a young boy in Toronto in the 60s when southern Ontario was the heart of Canada's manufacturing industry fueled by cheap hydroelectric power and local steel production. The country was a storehouse of raw materials. Any imports from China or Japan were in the cheap toys and trinkets category.

We've taken our eyes off the ball for a very long time and policy after policy has crippled that industry. Whether its the bundles of red tape which makes it difficult to start up and continue to run a business; the ever increasing costs of energy; the increasing labour costs; or our inability to compete on the quality of our products, we've fallen back to our exports being mostly resource-based rather than manufactured goods. That has always been a death knell for local industry going back to when cheap American grain destroyed the native British grain industry notwithstanding the Corn Laws.

Trudeau is the last in a long line of politicians incapable of dealing with a changing world. My guess is that he is not challenging China simply because China could lash out economically against Canada much more harshly than we could lash back. If we wish to cement our much more critical relationship with the US then we definitely need to do so. Baring Huawei is critical to that. I presume we haven't so far because the large telecoms are voluntarily staying away from them probably under some backroom pressure. It's a signal we need to send, however.

More importantly, we need to be super careful with our Green Energy programs. At the moment they are part of a Pollyanna day dream that will do nothing but lead to even higher energy costs which will cripple the few manufacturing industries we have left. If we want to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels we desperately need cheap electrical energy and I can't see beyond SMRs for that currently. They should be a government priority together with a sound plan for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel. If we want to have any possibility of reclaiming our manufacturing sector then that is a route we need to go.

🍻
The calculus is more nuanced on this front I believe. We need more trade options than the USA. The USA goes through protectionist periods and this leave Canada and the Canadian economy at the whim of the political winds of our neighbour. We have done as much as we can, realistically, to diversify our exports, with CETA in Europe and CPTPP in Asia, but that is just tinkering around the edges. The reality is that with 75 percent of our exports going to the USA, cutting trade with China leaves us more reliant on the USA, which has been less of a partner and more of a adversary on the trade front in the past 2 decades.

With so much of our trade going to the USA, they have us over a barrel, and I think they know it. Two American presidents in a row have been more than willing to toss Canada under the bus if they see the a political advantage in doing so, and there is little we can do about it. We are so integrated into the American automobile market that its inconceivable that we export to other countries if the Americans cut us out of their market, and far more conceivable that the Canadian auto industry dies. We are so tied into the American energy market that its inconceivable that we export oil and gas elsewhere, or electricity elsewhere and far more conceivable that our energy resources stay locked within Canada.

The only way to break this cycle of being more and more dependent on the American Economy which can backfire spectacularly when the Americans start looking inward is to have other options. CETA is nice, but fundamentally, didn't move the needle enough. CPTPP is nice, but didn't move the needle enough. Any trade deal with the UK will be nice but wont move the needle enough. The biggest economy out there that can compare to a EU or USA is China. And even that wont move the needle enough, but if Canada increases ties with Europe, the Pacific and China, maybe getting sideswiped by the Americans doesn't hurt quite as badly.
 

KevinB

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I think title should have been Visit SHOULD have Delivered Wake Up Call.
I don't think that JT really understands what is going to be done.
With so much of our trade going to the USA, they have us over a barrel, and I think they know it. Two American presidents in a row have been more than willing to toss Canada under the bus if they see the a political advantage in doing so, and there is little we can do about it. We are so integrated into the American automobile market that its inconceivable that we export to other countries if the Americans cut us out of their market, and far more conceivable that the Canadian auto industry dies. We are so tied into the American energy market that its inconceivable that we export oil and gas elsewhere, or electricity elsewhere and far more conceivable that our energy resources stay locked within Canada.
Want to know why - when you aren't acting like a good ally - there is not benefit to supporting you like one.

The only way to break this cycle of being more and more dependent on the American Economy which can backfire spectacularly when the Americans start looking inward is to have other options. CETA is nice, but fundamentally, didn't move the needle enough. CPTPP is nice, but didn't move the needle enough. Any trade deal with the UK will be nice but wont move the needle enough. The biggest economy out there that can compare to a EU or USA is China. And even that wont move the needle enough, but if Canada increases ties with Europe, the Pacific and China, maybe getting sideswiped by the Americans doesn't hurt quite as badly.
Yes go play with China - see how that works out :rolleyes:
 

Altair

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I think title should have been Visit SHOULD have Delivered Wake Up Call.
I don't think that JT really understands what is going to be done.

Want to know why - when you aren't acting like a good ally - there is not benefit to supporting you like one.
Except the Americans are doing the exact same thing to Mexico, who has been nothing but helpful in many respects. This is less about Canada and more about Americans looking out of number 1.
Yes go play with China - see how that works out :rolleyes:
Its unsavory but at the end of the day, America isn't a reliable partner with shared goals. And having 75 percent of your exports going to a unreliable partner that has no qualms about wrecking entire sectors of you economy means you need to diversify. Canada has a trade deal every top 10 economy on the planet other than Brazil, Russia, India and China. If that's not diversification I don't know what is.

More importantly, who else is left? Africa is a mess, and doing a bunch of bilateral deals there will take more time than it's worth, and any bilateral deal may be ripped up once a coup happens. A good chunk of south America is covered under the CPTPP. Europe is covered by CETA. Russia is a mirror image of the Canadian economy, energy exporter, no great value there. Brazil would be nice, but wouldn't move the needle and Bolsanaro is as protectionist as Trump was. India would be nice, but wouldn't move the needle right now. Maybe in the coming decades.

That leaves China.
 

Halifax Tar

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The calculus is more nuanced on this front I believe. We need more trade options than the USA. The USA goes through protectionist periods and this leave Canada and the Canadian economy at the whim of the political winds of our neighbour. We have done as much as we can, realistically, to diversify our exports, with CETA in Europe and CPTPP in Asia, but that is just tinkering around the edges. The reality is that with 75 percent of our exports going to the USA, cutting trade with China leaves us more reliant on the USA, which has been less of a partner and more of a adversary on the trade front in the past 2 decades.

With so much of our trade going to the USA, they have us over a barrel, and I think they know it. Two American presidents in a row have been more than willing to toss Canada under the bus if they see the a political advantage in doing so, and there is little we can do about it. We are so integrated into the American automobile market that its inconceivable that we export to other countries if the Americans cut us out of their market, and far more conceivable that the Canadian auto industry dies. We are so tied into the American energy market that its inconceivable that we export oil and gas elsewhere, or electricity elsewhere and far more conceivable that our energy resources stay locked within Canada.

The only way to break this cycle of being more and more dependent on the American Economy which can backfire spectacularly when the Americans start looking inward is to have other options. CETA is nice, but fundamentally, didn't move the needle enough. CPTPP is nice, but didn't move the needle enough. Any trade deal with the UK will be nice but wont move the needle enough. The biggest economy out there that can compare to a EU or USA is China. And even that wont move the needle enough, but if Canada increases ties with Europe, the Pacific and China, maybe getting sideswiped by the Americans doesn't hurt quite as badly.

Spoken like a true Liberal Party shill. I will give you credence you are consistent.
 

Altair

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Spoken like a true Liberal Party shill. I will give you credence you are consistent.
Okay, lets do it this way.

America is going through a protectionist period. It happens.

Canada needs to diversify its economy, so that it's not as badly hurt when America goes through these protectionist periods. Who, pray tell, would you focus on increasing exports to, and how would you do it?
 

Brad Sallows

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Not much point pursuing oil and gas exports if so many people are so determined to shut down exploration and exploitation.

Exporting electricity "elsewhere" than the US doesn't make any practical sense whatsoever.

What Canada could do is export LNG to places where electricity is generated by thermal generation plants, and move oil around the country so that we don't import any of it from anywhere else. We'd make a dent in worldwide emissions, but we'd have to give up some ground on capping our own emissions. Well, that's politically unacceptable. The estimate has been situated, and moronism wins.
 

Halifax Tar

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Okay, lets do it this way.

America is going through a protectionist period. It happens.

Canada needs to diversify its economy, so that it's not as badly hurt when America goes through these protectionist periods. Who, pray tell, would you focus on increasing exports to, and how would you do it?

Im not an economist. But trading more with China seems like a bad political move. I would go with the EU and the USA. How about Brazil ?
 

YZT580

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It will hurt for a short while but we need to mimic the US and actively support home-grown. Even our canned fruits and vegetables come from off-shore. Cancel the carbon tax on electrical generation, stop wasting money on energy subsidy and insist that the reduction in costs be reflected in the wholesale market price. Ban any product from off-shore that can be attributed to forced labour.
 

Altair

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Im not an economist. But trading more with China seems like a bad political move. I would go with the EU and the USA. How about Brazil ?
We have a deal with the EU already, CETA. Any increase in exports will come from that deal, we cannot force private enterprise to just "trade more" with the EU. Unless you want a planned economy that is.

Our dependence on trade with the USA is a problem when Americans get protectionist. Increasing trade with the Americans only for them to be fine with completely shutting out our industries will exacerbate the issue.

Brazil would be nice, but their economy is the size of Canadas more or less. It wont move the needle that much. Also, Bolsonaro isn't exactly one for bilateral agreements.

That leaves Russia, China and India.
 

Altair

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It will hurt for a short while but we need to mimic the US and actively support home-grown. Even our canned fruits and vegetables come from off-shore. Cancel the carbon tax on electrical generation, stop wasting money on energy subsidy and insist that the reduction in costs be reflected in the wholesale market price. Ban any product from off-shore that can be attributed to forced labour.
Canada isn't the best place to grow oranges.

and cutting trade that do forces labour like China means more stuff sourced from places like Vietnam. That industry isn't coming home. Meanwhile there is a large market for our exports that suddenly hates us more, making it harder to push diversification from the American economy. Vietnam isn't buying our stuff, I can assure you that.
 

Halifax Tar

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We have a deal with the EU already, CETA. Any increase in exports will come from that deal, we cannot force private enterprise to just "trade more" with the EU. Unless you want a planned economy that is.

Our dependence on trade with the USA is a problem when Americans get protectionist. Increasing trade with the Americans only for them to be fine with completely shutting out our industries will exacerbate the issue.

Brazil would be nice, but their economy is the size of Canadas more or less. It wont move the needle that much. Also, Bolsonaro isn't exactly one for bilateral agreements.

That leaves Russia, China and India.

I wonder if the USA would be less protectionist with us in trade if we pulled our weight on things like continental defense ?

Only a Liberal would want more trade with Russia and China. India, sure.
 

Altair

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I wonder if the USA would be less protectionist with us in trade if we pulled our weight on things like continental defense ?
Do you think the average rust belt voter who wants auto jobs back will care if Canada did more for NORAD?

I doubt it. Yet these are the voters that Biden and Trump were trying to win over.

America under Trump hit everyone and their mother with tariffs on steel and aluminum. Biden is appeasing the auto industry and union jobs by throwing Mexico and Canada under the bus. If these were targeted at Canada specifically I would agree with you, but its seems to be done with no regard as to who it hurts.
Only a Liberal would want more trade with Russia and China. India, sure.
Well, we can continue to be dependent of the whims of the American political class. Seems foolish to just go into recession every time American feels like going through a America first stage, but hey, at least we aren't selling shit to China.
 

Altair

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Not much point pursuing oil and gas exports if so many people are so determined to shut down exploration and exploitation.

Exporting electricity "elsewhere" than the US doesn't make any practical sense whatsoever.

What Canada could do is export LNG to places where electricity is generated by thermal generation plants, and move oil around the country so that we don't import any of it from anywhere else. We'd make a dent in worldwide emissions, but we'd have to give up some ground on capping our own emissions. Well, that's politically unacceptable. The estimate has been situated, and moronism wins.
Good job, you saved the energy industry. What do we do about cars and car parts, planes and plane parts, food products, raw materials, pharmaceuticals?
 

daftandbarmy

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We're slipping economically, especially in contrast to the US, and they can smell weakness:


Economic freedom on the wane across Canada Nov. 16, 2021 For Immediate Release

CALGARY—Canadian provinces once again lag behind U.S. states in economic freedom, finds a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan, public policy think-tank. Economic freedom—the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions about what to buy, where to work and whether to start a business—remains fundamental to prosperity.

“Higher levels of economic freedom lead to more opportunity, more prosperity, greater economic growth, more investment and more jobs for Canadians,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and co-author of this year’s Economic Freedom of North America report, which measures government spending, taxation and labour market restrictions using data from 2019 (the latest year of available comparable data).

After seven straight years atop the rankings—which include the 50 U.S. states, 32 Mexican states and 10 Canadian provinces—Alberta fell from top spot three years ago and this year tied for 33rd place. “While Alberta saw a change in government in 2019 and has made some progress in changing the course of policy, much remains to be done to once again make the province the most economically-free jurisdiction in North America,” McMahon said.

British Columbia is the second-highest ranked province (47 th) followed by Ontario (52nd), Saskatchewan (54th), Manitoba (55 th) and Quebec (56 th). The four Atlantic provinces—New Brunswick (57th), Nova Scotia (58th), Newfoundland and Labrador (59th) and Prince Edward Island (60th)—have the lowest levels of economic freedom among all provinces and U.S. states, only outranking the Mexican states. New Hampshire retained its top spot in the rankings again this year. “As economic freedom wanes across Canada, the economic prospects also diminish for Canadians and their families,” McMahon said.

 

Altair

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Oh, the old if-you-can-only-do-one-thing-you-shouldn't-do-anything ploy. FFS.
I'm asking you a simple question. If the Americans are less than helpful and have decided on protectionism as their path, where do you suggest Canadian exports should go where they are not already?

We have Europe covered, the pacific is covered, that leaves Brazil, Russia, India and China as the top markets not covered by a trade deal. Where do we send our cars and car parts, planes and plane parts, food products, raw materials, pharmaceuticals?
 

Brad Sallows

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What to Know
Sealioning is a harassment tactic by which a participant in a debate or online discussion pesters the other participant with disingenuous questions under the guise of sincerity, hoping to erode the patience or goodwill of the target to the point where they appear unreasonable. Often, sealioning involved asking for evidence for even basic claims. The term comes from a web comic depicting a sea lion engaging in such behavior.
 

Brad Sallows

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Canada does protectionism, too. Perhaps some of it can be negotiated away on both sides. We should unilaterally drop our own protectionism regardless. As for the rest, let exporters manage their own businesses.
 
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