American president Donald Trump has long targeted Canada.
Once the closest of allies, the U.S. and Canada have adopted divergent paths in recent years. Indeed, progressive policy in Canada is a foil to the increasingly autocratic tendencies of the American president. That makes Canada a threat.
Trump has also used Canada as a simplistic political device. Blaming Canada for the declining state of the U.S. manufacturing sector, he has launched a rhetorical attack against the country to the north in order to gain favour among white working class constituents.
Trump has even called Canada a "national security threat" for what he views as a harmful trade policy that takes advantage of the United States.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has drawn most of Trump's criticism. The pact between Canada, the United States, and Mexico commits the three countries to open trade policies.
Trump has promised to dismantle (or at least overhaul) the historic agreement for years. His strategy: to split negotiations between Mexico and Canada. If the U.S. is able to reach a deal with Mexico first, the Trump administration could strong-arm Canada into a disadvantageous deal.
Canadian officials have feared such a scenario and have worked to maintain Canada's position at the negotiating table.
Unfotunately, bad news arrived today.
In a pointed Tweet, Trump announced that a finalized deal between the United States and Mexico is forthcoming.
A big deal looking good with Mexico!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2018
The Tweet basically exhibits the exclusion of Canada.
Now the Canadian government is in a tough position. Officials will have to decide whether to succumb to pressure from a joint agreement between the U.S. and Mexico or risk economic insecurity.
Moreover, Canada only has a few months to agree to the new terms. Federal elections in Mexico and the United States are leading officials in both countries to rush a new trade deal.
What this will mean for the Canadian economy and workers and whether Canada will surrender to Trump's demands only time will tell.