Trump and the World

Policy - - In This Issue - From the Editor / L. Ian Mac­Don­ald

Wel­come to our issue mark­ing Don­ald Trump’s first year in of­fice as pres­i­dent of the United States. By any mea­sure, from trade to diplo­macy, from North Korea to Jerusalem, it has been a tu­mul­tuous year, un­like any other in the mod­ern era.

Our writ­ers are on the case. We be­gin with Colin Robertson’s sur­vey piece on the Trump ef­fect, and the Cana­dian re­sponse. “The global op­er­at­ing sys­tem is in a state of shock,” writes Robertson, a for­mer min­is­ter at the Cana­dian Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton and now vice-pres­i­dent at the Cana­dian Global Af­fairs Institute in Ot­tawa. “Man­age­ment of the re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. has be­come much more dif­fi­cult with Don­ald Trump, but man­age Trump we must.”

John Dela­court, for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor for the Lib­eral Re­search Bureau, walks us through how Team Trudeau has been man­ag­ing Trump, start­ing with the re­la­tion­ship between the prime min­is­ter and pres­i­dent, as well as flood­ing the zone of Con­gres­sional, gu­ber­na­to­rial and stake­hold­ers on the NAFTA rene­go­ti­a­tions. “Trudeau, his Cab­i­net and his se­nior ad­vis­ers have all re­sisted speak­ing ill of the pres­i­dent on so­cial me­dia,” Dela­court writes. “This is not a small thing with the pres­i­dent or his of­fice and you can be as­sured it has been noted.”

For her part, for­mer U.S. diplo­mat Sarah Goldfeder, who served two am­bas­sadors in Ot­tawa, writes that “the pres­i­dent’s trade poli­cies can­not be di­vorced from his pol­i­tics. His base equates trade with job loss, and im­mi­gra­tion with in­equity. The be­lief that the United States is al­ways at risk of be­ing taken ad­van­tage of beats at the heart of the Trump doc­trine.”

Massey Col­lege’s Pub­lic Pol­icy Chair Tom Ax­wor­thy looks at China Ris­ing in the Trumpian con­text of dis­en­gage­ment and ob­serves that: “Fu­ture his­to­ri­ans may well write that it was in Jan­uary 2017 that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity be­gan to look to China for global lead­er­ship, rather than the U.S. For the Chi­nese, Trump is the gift that keeps on giv­ing.”

Ax­wor­thy was in China dur­ing Justin Trudeau’s four-day visit in De­cem­ber, a trade mis­sion in which the widely an­tic­i­pated start of bi­lat­eral free trade talks failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize. Robin Sears, him­self an old Asia hand, also hap­pened to be in Bei­jing and re­minds us that the Chi­nese mea­sure progress in cen­turies. “It will be the work of decades,” he writes, “with fre­quent mis­steps and many in­evitable flare-ups.”

Colum­nist Don New­man con­cludes our cover pack­age with a look at Trump’s recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as the Is­raeli cap­i­tal as a case study of the pres­i­dent as a dis­rup­tor in which he “stood the world on its head by re­vers­ing 50 years of Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy in the Mid­dle East.”

In Canada and the World, we lead with a Ver­ba­tim from for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Brian Mul­roney, a key­note ad­dress to the UN con­fer­ence on the 30th an­niver­sary of the Mon­treal Pro­to­col on ozone de­ple­tion, widely re­garded as the most suc­cess­ful en­vi­ron­men­tal agree­ment ever.

Con­tribut­ing writer Geoff Norquay looks at tax re­form as a po­lit­i­cally per­ilous file, as Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau dis­cov­ered with the bun­gled roll-out of his small busi­ness tax re­form. Norquay writes that Michael Wil­son got it right in his 1987 White Pa­per on Tax Re­form which “con­tained no sur­prises be­cause of the gov­ern­ment’s pre­vi­ous work on con­sen­sus-build­ing.”

Veteran for­eign pol­icy hand Jeremy Kins­man of­fers an in­sight­ful back­grounder to the Cat­alo­nian sep­a­ra­tion cri­sis in Spain, in which Madrid’s re­sponse ex­ac­er­bated the sit­u­a­tion. Ninety per cent of those who voted in the October ref­er­en­dum sup­ported in­de­pen­dence, but the turnout was only 43 per cent. “Most in­formed ob­servers who have dealt with sep­a­ra­tion is­sues … ” Kins­man con­cludes, “agree that only a sub­stan­tial amend­ment to the Span­ish con­sti­tu­tion per­mit­ting fed­er­al­ism will pro­vide a com­pro­mise so­lu­tion.”

On the home par­lia­men­tary front we of­fer a guest col­umn from Green Party Leader El­iz­a­beth May on heck­ling in the House. Par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dure spe­cial­ist Yaroslav Baran weighs in on time al­lo­ca­tion, which could be a po­lite term for clo­sure. Dal­housie Uni­ver­sity’s Lori Turn­bull, a co-win­ner of the Don­ner Prize, joins our ros­ter of con­tribut­ing writ­ers with a com­par­a­tive piece on po­lit­i­cal con­flicts of in­ter­est in Canada and the U.S.

Uni­ver­sity of Ot­tawa Vice Dean of Law Caris­sima Mathen also joins our masthead with a look back on 2017 as an event­ful year at the Supreme Court, end­ing with the de­par­ture of Bev­er­ley McLach­lin as its longest­serv­ing chief.


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