Trump Is Going To Reignite The Sovereignty Movement In Quebec, Here's How
Brace for a tumultuous campaign season.
For the first time, Canada is completely alone in the world.
If the spat with Saudi Arabia over human rights proved anything, it's that Canada's allies are largely unwilling to offer assistance. Even statements of support from European partners came late and reluctantly.
And then there's Trump.
The American president has undermined the very tenets of north American cooperation. Once the closest of economic and diplomatic partners, the United States and Canada have quickly drifted apart since Trump installed his increasingly autocratic regime.
The bloated bully has publically berated the Canadian people and prime minister, labelled Canada a "national security threat," slapped tarrifs on Canadian goods, and threatened to enforce debilitating levies on Canadian auto-parts.
And this week, Trump has singlehandedly dismantled the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the pact that commits Canada, the United States, and Mexico to mutually beneficial open trade policies.
In a joint statement with the Mexican president, Trump introduced what he calls the "U.S. – Mexico Trade Agreement," a deal that will replace NAFTA to the exclusion of Canada. While the substitution still needs congressional approval, it has already served its political purpose: to kill NAFTA in the public imagination, to undermine its tenability, and to force Canada to surrender to Trump's demands.
With the leverage of a separate deal with Mexico and the threat of tariffs on Canadian manufactured goods, Trump is in a position to force Canada into a disadvantageous trade deal.
His prize: the notoriously insulated Canadian market.
Canada currently has a well-developed system of laws that give favour to Canadian products and suppliers and protect them from American competitors.
These laws influence everything from television production to, most importantly, dairy.
Canadian dairy supply chain management keeps the domestic industry secure. Trump seeks to dismantle those protections.
American intrusion into that market would have devastating consequences both economically and politically, according to The National Observer.
But one polticial repercussion in particular looms as a distinct possibility: the resurrection of the separatist movement in Quebec.
While the issue of sovereignty has been largely absent from the current election cycle in Quebec, the debate over dairy will surely strike at the very centre of political discourse in the province.
Indeed, Quebec has the most to lose if the Canadian market were suddenly available to American producers.
According to statistics from the federal government, the dairy labour force in Quebec, with a total of 5,368 dairy farms, far exceeds that in every other province. The province with the next most farms, Ontario, has only 3,613.
If the Canadian government compromises on the issue of dairy, as Trump insists, Quebec will be the loser.
The sacrifice of such a huge sector of the economy of Quebec in favour of larger Canadian economic interests will rightfully fuel discontent in the francophone province.
Political leaders in Quebec have already reacted strongly to the threat to dairy farmers, as the Montreal Gazette reports..
If, in the coming weeks, Trudeau signals the end of dairy supply chain management, that discontent will become political rage. Separatists will be once again emboldened to voice their concerns about economic disparity, and the issue will dominate politics in the province.
Trump is going to reignite the separatist movement in Quebec. But maybe that's his plan.