After American president Donald Trump effectively killed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) earlier this week, Canadian officials have been scrambling to negotiate a new trade deal with the United States.
Make no mistake: Canada relies upon economic cooperation with its neighbour country.
To increase that pressure, Trump set today as the deadline for new trade negotiations. While that may seem spontaneous, this has been Trump's strategy for months: to attack, belittle, and isolate Canada to force it into a disadvantageous deal.
Whatever Canadian and American officials announce today, responsibility will fall squarely on the shoulders of Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau.
Trump has constructed a win-win scenario. Either he pressures Canada into a deal that greatly favours the United States, or he walks away claiming to have put American interests first.
The Trudeau government, on the other hand, finds itself in an impossible situation: either it surrenders to Trump's pressure to the detriment of the Canadian economy, or it abandons the country's largest trading partner.
Economically, both the U.S. and Canada will be hurt if officials cannot reach a deal. But politically, Trudeau has the most to lose.
Indeed, Canada has a lot at stake.
Here are 9 things Canada might lose in the trade deal:
As stated, Trudeau is in a tough situation. Either he agrees to a disastrous deal or he forfeits economic cooperation with the United States. Both scenarios have serious econonomic and political consequences. Canada's reputation could be tarnished. That could put Trudeau's position as Liberal party leader in jeopardy. If he's unable to protect Canadian interests, he will be vulnerable.
As we earlier reported, the new trade deal could undermine Canadians' current digital rights. Trump wants Canada to agree to what's called a "notice-and-takedown system," which is shorthand for a process that forces Internet providers to take down copyrighted material as soon as someone complains. That means that Canadians will not be able to as easily access pirated content. Internet entrepreneurs will also be subject to the jealous ire of competitors. If someone doesn't like their content, all one need to do is claim copyright infringement.
This is actually a huge deal. Trump has long targeted Canada's dairy supply management system, which favours Canadian dairy producers and protects them from American competitors. If the Canadian market is suddenly open to American dairy companies, Canadian dairy farmers will greatly suffer.
Or at least Quebec's confidence. Quebec has more dairy farms than any other Canadian province. Dismantling Canada's dairy supply-chain-management system will harm the economy in Quebec the most. If the Canadian government sacrifices the Quebec economy to protect larger national interests, Quebec residents and politicians will be rightfully concerned. That move could also provoke the sovereignty movement, which has been largely silent in the current provincial election cycle.
If a deal fails, Trump may follow through on his long-promised tariffs on Canadian auto-parts. That would devastate the economy in southern Ontario and put thousands of jobs in jeopardy. The failure of the auto manufacturing industry in Ontario could lead to a nationwide recession.
Friendship with Mexico
Mexico cheated Canada. By agreeing to a separate trade deal that excludes Canada, Mexican officials undermined Canadian negotiating power. Canadian officials will likely not soon forget that move. The relationship between the two countries will probably deteriorate.
Through NAFTA, individuals in Canada and the United States can more easily apply for certain work permits. Those permits are at risk. Trump is notoriously skeptical of foreign workers.
If a deal falls apart, both Canada and the United Stats could retaliate with travel restrictions, or at least more strict border security. The dispute between the two countries has already had consequences at the border, which has become the site where frustration and contempt has become manifest. It could get even harder for Canadians to travel to the United States.
If Canada agrees to a bad deal, its international reputation will be severely damaged. The international community will view Canada as merely an economic puppet of the United States and Trump himself. The repercussions of this scenario will have consequences for decades.