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.
If we have learned nothing else from the most recent national elections in Canada and the United States, it is that campaigns still matter.
One of Donald Trump's most revealing quotes was to say, "Who knew health care was so complicated?" He has now made a similar acknowledgement about North Korea, stating that a 10-minute conversation with the Chinese leader has illuminated him upon that subject as well. What these comments really indicate, of course, was how poorly prepared he was to accept the mantle of the presidency in the first place. His naivete and arrogance were evident in thinking that making public policy was the same as negotiating New York City real estate deals.
In times past when the government had a really big deal to announce, or an item of long-anticipated legislation, it would pull out all the stops. Parliament would be primed. The prime minister would beam proudly while the sponsoring minister(s) explained in lavish terms how the new measure would dramatically improve the lives of ordinary Canadians, enhance democracy and make the nation stronger, safer and more prosperous. Then cabinet members would fan out across the land to deliver the glad tidings.
Hype like that.
“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.
Should all political science research with Indigenous communities and on Indigenous topics involve formal research partnerships? The push from ethics boards, granting agencies, and the literature is for the answer to be yes.
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.
Sorting out the federal Conservative leadership competition, with its 14 candidates, is bit like trying to unscramble an omelet. It would be simpler if, instead of a secret, preferential ballot weighted to give each of the 338 ridings an equal number of votes, the party had opted for an old-style brokered convention.
The opposition parties worked themselves into a fair lather last week when Parliament was informed that it had cost taxpayers $127,000 for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family to vacation in the Bahamas at Christmas.
“Completely outrageous,” snapped NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
“When did the prime minister forget that it's his job to serve Canadians and not the other way around?” demanded Blaine Calkins, a Conservative from Alberta.