Here's part of a speech I gave at the University of Toronto shortly before the US election:
In recent months, the tenor of Canada-US relations has much improved. But the Obama Administration’s days are numbered and the current presidential campaign has exposed – and inflamed – powerful anti-trade sentiments in the American public. Historically those sentiments have resided mainly in the organized-labour wing of the Democratic Party, but today a solid majority of Republican voters believe that free trade has been bad for the US: 61% of them, up sharply from 39% in June 2015.
This is, of course, partly a Trump phenomenon, but it’s much more than that. Bernie Sanders tapped into the very same feelings during his surprisingly popular bid for the Democratic nomination. We need to recognize both the breadth and the intensity of frustration and anger in the American public. The brand of populism it’s generating is more virulent than anything we have seen in generations. It is Jacksonian pop...
Canadian, U.S. and Mexican government ministers met Friday in Ottawa to discuss the trilateral Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The SPP has been making news lately, but for all the wrong reasons. Conspiracy theorists are claiming that it is a secret plan for continental integration.
The irony is that an overarching plan — secret or otherwise — is precisely what the SPP lacks. It is little more than a hodgepodge of bilateral and trilateral working groups on issues such as border security, food safety, migratory birds, and so on. Most of these groups existed long before the SPP was announced in 2005.
When the SPP was created, the groups were organized into two broad clusters — security and prosperity — and a new mechanism was created to oversee their activities. The goal was to nudge their work forward by requiring them to deliver semi-annual progress reports to ministers from all three countries.
These reports, thick as the Halifax phone book, are mind-numbing...