All it took to thwart Donald Trump from killing the North American free-trade agreement, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, was to take a piece of paper off his desk.
Fear: Trump In The White House is a detailed behind-the-scenes book of the Trump presidency. Advance reports have revealed, for instance, that economic adviser Gary Cohn stopped Mr. Trump from withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA by taking the paper that required a signature off his desk. Without the paper in front of him, apparently, Mr. Trump forgot about it.
As it happens, NAFTA talks resume today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is firm in wanting to preserve Chapter 19, a dispute-resolution mechanism, and protections on culture. Mr. Trudeau raised the spectre of a U.S. news outlet buying up a Canadian one. "It is inconceivable to any Canadian that an American network might buy Canadian media affiliates, whether it is a newspaper or television stations or TV networks," he told reporters.
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Mr. Trudeau says the federal government only has "a little more work" to do to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion back on track, following a Federal Court of Appeal decision that has thrown the project into doubt. However, Mr. Trudeau refused to spell out exactly how the government will respond to the court decision, or what it will do about Alberta's decision to withdraw support for the federal climate plan as a result.
A judge is accusing the country's chief of justices of disrespecting the courts in the way that they judge other judges.
A group of illegal marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver are arguing in a B.C. court that cities have no right to limit where medical cannabis can be sold because, they argue, storefront sales of the drug are a federal issue. Vancouver is among several cities that has brought in bylaws regulating dispensaries, despite the fact that they remain illegal under federal law.
The B.C. and federal governments have reiterated their commitment to fund two major transit projects in the Vancouver region. The combined federal and provincial money will set aside $3-billion for a light-rail transit line in Surrey and a long-awaited subway along Vancouver's Broadway corridor.
A First Nations chief in northern Manitoba says Indigenous people in the region continue to suffer the type of abuse that was detailed in a review of hydroelectric activity dating back to the 1960s. A recent report cited racism, discrimination and sexual abuse at Manitoba Hydro work sites in the 1960s. Garrison Settee, head of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, says that oppression continues to happen.
And, the Ottawa Citizen reports, recently unsealed court documents show that former hostage Caitlan Coleman is accusing her husband, Joshua Boyle, of physical and emotional abuse. The two and their children – who were born in captivity – were held in Afghanistan and Pakistan for five years.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Trans Mountain: "The duty to consult stems from the notion of honour of the Crown living up to historical commitments, and it’s enshrined in the Constitution. There’s no way to legislate it away, or use the notwithstanding clause. And if there’s a third strike in consulting Indigenous people on a pipeline, it will sap confidence that major projects can proceed if they affect First Nations' rights."
Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on Trans Mountain: "But what won’t be back on track is Justin Trudeau’s promise of a grand bargain – carbon tax for pipelines – and the optimism that he can get everyone in line on the climate file. In fact, he has the worst of both worlds – people are repudiating his carbon taxes, and we’re no closer to market access for our oil than we ever were."
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on Trump's disdain for Canada: "Now we have a president who has turned the tables. Canadians are the villains. We’re so dastardly on trade that he’ll have to drive us into submission."
Eddie Goldenberg (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: "Despite Mr. Trump’s bluster, U.S. negotiators and their Mexican counterparts must realize that the U.S.-Mexico “deal” on its own is a total nonstarter in Congress without Canada."
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Bob Woodward's book about Trump: "It’s illuminating to learn the extent to which Mr. Trump’s circle works to contain their boss. The enduring mystery is why so few people are willing to stand up to him."
Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on finding good news: "In the current environment, a few stories hog all the oxygen and then burn hotter when they’re fanned by social-media outrage. Outrage is satisfying, momentarily, but ultimately empty if it results in nothing greater than itself."
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