Canada a bridge to Trump: EU

Trudeau ad­dresses Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, tries to calm Trump fears

The Peterborough Examiner - - NATIONAL - MIKE BLANCHFIELD

STRAS­BOURG, France — Fresh from his meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton, Justin Trudeau sought to bring Europe a mes­sage of re­as­sur­ance Thurs­day about the anx­i­ety it faces over Don­ald Trump’s an­tipa­thy to­wards the con­ti­nent.

Trudeau’s re­cent visit to the White House, kick­ing off a whirl­wind week of in­ter­na­tional travel, was closely watched in the Euro­pean Union, which en­dured an­other round of bash­ing this week from Trump’s pick for am­bas­sador to Brussels.

Trudeau’s host, An­to­nio Ta­jani, the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, said Europe views Canada as an im­por­tant bridge builder in its at­tempt to forge pos­i­tive re­la­tions with the United States.

“It’s eas­ier for the Cana­di­ans to speak to the Amer­i­cans,” Ta­jani said, seated next to Trudeau at their joint press con­fer­ence in Stras­bourg, France, the seat of the bloc’s 28-coun­try par­lia­ment.

The Trump-Trudeau meet­ing on Mon­day “paved the way for bet­ter re­la­tions be­tween Euro­pean Union and the United States of Amer­ica,” Ta­jani said.

“We want to work with the Amer­i­cans. Over the next years, the Cana­dian work is very good for re­la­tions be­tween us and Amer­ica.”

Trudeau elab­o­rated on his meet­ing with Trump, say­ing the two are seek­ing com­mon ground to help the mid­dle classes of their two coun­tries pros­per.

“What I saw from the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent was a fo­cus on get­ting things done for the peo­ple who sup­ported him and who be­lieve in him, while demon­strat­ing that good re­la­tions with one’s neigh­bours is a great way of get­ting things done,” said Trudeau.

The prime min­is­ter called that “a pos­i­tive ex­am­ple that every­one is go­ing ben­e­fit from around the world.”

Trudeau said the Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic and Trade Agree­ment with Europe would likely be rat­i­fied by Canada by the spring and that’s when work­ing peo­ple would be­gin to see the ben­e­fits of trade deals, which are cur­rently the source of dis­con­tent across Europe and within the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ear­lier, Trudeau showed the EU some much needed love in his highly-an­tic­i­pated speech to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, the day af­ter it rat­i­fied CETA. But he also warned that if it doesn’t suc­ceed, it could be the last deal of its kind.

“The Euro­pean Union is a truly re­mark­able achieve­ment, and an un­prece­dented model for peace­ful co-op­er­a­tion. Canada knows that an ef­fec­tive Euro­pean voice on the global stage isn’t just prefer­able — it’s es­sen­tial,” Trudeau said in the first ad­dress by a Cana­dian prime min­is­ter to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

“If we are suc­cess­ful, CETA will be­come the blue­print for all am­bi­tious, fu­ture trade deals. If we are not, this could well be one of the last.”

It has been a rough year for the EU with Bri­tain’s de­ci­sion last sum­mer to leave the bloc. Trump has praised the so-called Brexit, which has sparked the his­toric and pro­tracted di­vorce ne­go­ti­a­tion be­tween Bri­tain and the EU, and has mused about which coun­try might be next.

Trump’s am­bas­sador des­ig­nate to the EU, Ted Mal­loch, told the Associated Press ear­lier this week that the EU’s “bla­tant anti-Amer­i­can­ism” is “prob­lem­atic.”

Anti-trade groups are vow­ing to con­tinue the fight against the deal, which they say ben­e­fits large cor­po­ra­tions at the ex­pense of work­ing peo­ple — a re­al­ity Trudeau spoke to in his speech.

“Now, we live in a time when many peo­ple are wor­ried that the cur­rent sys­tem only ben­e­fits so­ci­ety’s luck­i­est few. And their con­cern is valid,” Trudeau said.

“The anx­i­ety peo­ple have to­wards the econ­omy and trade — the worry that our kids won’t have ac­cess to the same jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties that we had — can be ad­dressed only if we en­sure that trade is in­clu­sive, so that every­one ben­e­fits.”

The anti-trade move­ment is gain­ing ground in Europe and south of the bor­der with Trump’s pro­tec­tion­ist “Amer­ica first” pos­ture that has killed the U.S. free trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with Europe, as well as the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship that would have spanned 12 Pa­cific Rim coun­tries, in­clud­ing Canada.

“Col­lec­tively, we be­lieve in democ­racy, trans­parency, and the rule of law. We be­lieve in hu­man rights. And we be­lieve in in­clu­sion, and in diver­sity,” Trudeau said.

“We know that, in th­ese times, we must choose to lead the in­ter­na­tional econ­omy, not sim­ply be sub­ject to its whims.”

Anti-trade groups vowed to do every­thing pos­si­ble to rally op­po­si­tion in re­gional par­lia­ments to even­tu­ally block the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pact, which will knock down tar­iffs for 35 mil­lion Cana­di­ans and 500 mil­lion Euro­peans.

“Pop­ulism has taken hold ev­ery­where. Mr. Trump is the big­gest ex­am­ple of that and so it’s an­other vi­sion of our fu­ture,” said for­mer Quebec premier Jean Charest, one of CETA’s early pro­po­nents who came to Stras­bourg for Wed­nes­day’s rat­i­fi­ca­tion.

“This vote is very sig­nif­i­cant for those of us who be­lieve the world is a bet­ter place if we ac­tu­ally work to­gether. It sounds sim­ple but you know what, this is what is at stake.”

Par­lia­ment is ex­pected to rat­ify CETA in the com­ing months, which means 90 per cent of it would come into force un­der pro­vi­sional ap­pli­ca­tion. That would al­low the deal to take ef­fect with­out the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Euro­pean Union’s 28 mem­ber coun­tries and nu­mer­ous re­gional gov­ern­ments.

ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau signs a guest book as Ger­man Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck looks on Thurs­day at the Belle­vue Palace in Ber­lin, Ger­many.

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