After months of disparaging the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a “disaster” for American workers while making Mexico the primary focus of his criticisms, U.S. President Donald Trump has recently trained his sights on Canada. Specific grievances have included Canada’s supply management system for dairy (though not part of NAFTA) and the long-running softwood lumber dispute. Throughout, Trump has reiterated his commitment to renegotiating NAFTA to better suit American interests, and failing that, walking away from the pact.
“People will tie themselves in knots trying to discern a linear, rational decision-making (process) from Trump. It’s never been part of his character and it’s never going to be.” – Tim O’Brien, a biographer of Donald Trump.
The world is dealing with an American president who is motivated by impulse rather than strategy, by whim rather than rational decision-making.
The question with President Donald Trump is competence. Just like the Trump travel ban's difficulties resulting from a poorly planned policy, that was publicly rushed to create the illusion of an administration "accomplishing things," there is much about the Republican health care proposal (American Health Care Act) that can be perceived the same way.
One of the central themes of this U.S. election year is the widespread desire for change in the political system.
Public opinion polls suggest that some 70 per cent of Americans support this view, and it helps to explain the rise in the unconventional candidacies of both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who tried to win the Democrats' presidential nomination.
"In the world of Canada-U.S. relationship, access is worth its weight in gold," former prime minister Brian Mulroney, 2011.
Mulroney knew whereof he spoke. He enjoyed warm personal relations with two presidents, Republicans Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush. These relationships at the top translated into access lower down the political ladder as Canadian ministers and senior bureaucrats could make Canada’s voice heard in Washington.