By J. Stewart Cook

If ever there has been ongoing consultation with a former Prime Minister on a given subject matter, it has been with the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada. And what subject matter one may ask? If you have been following the news on a national or international level  you have certainly read about NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In a previous article I wrote on NAFTA, I reflected on the idea of having the former Prime Minister playing a much larger role in the renegotiation of NAFTA. Formally, Mr. Mulroney has not been given a title or position in this matter, however, the governing Liberal Party of Canada has been relying on him ever since the renegotiation commenced.

Mr. Mulroney has been more than grateful in assisting the present government with the review of NAFTA. Let it be clear, Mr. Mulroney is still a “politician” in many respects. However he truly cares about the economic well-being of Canada. He also cares about himself and wants to ensure his legacy, as it relates to NAFTA, remains in tact.

A negotiator, par excellence, he was more than instrumental in the implementation of NAFTA. Specifically, he invested his own time in securing Chapter 19, “a third-party arbitration system to judge whether punitive duties were being applied unfairly.” It has been a successful instrument for all. Unfortunately, President Trump does not see it in the same light. Now, there is the possibility that the USA may want to remove Chapter 19 from NAFTA.

President Trump has stated that NAFTA was “the worst trade deal ever made.” Such words make the re-negotiations that more difficult. He has not minced his words about terminating the NAFTA and would consider entering into a “bilateral agreement” with Canada. “Trump said it’s possible the talks to renegotiate NAFTA will fail, but that he could see the U.S. striking a new deal with Canada.

While it’s no secret the president is not a fan of NAFTA, it’s the first time he’s mused publicly about the possibility of a bilateral agreement with Canada.”

To avoid the aforementioned from happening, President Trump will need to be convinced that NAFTA is worth saving and, more so, that it is beneficial to the economy of the USA. Convincing President Trump to keep NAFTA will require intense negotiations. The economic benefits to the US will need to be clearly defined and identified. Tact and diplomacy will be of the utmost importance.

Given the present circumstances, it is without hesitation that consideration be given to having Canada’s former Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, as “key” negotiator for the NAFTA. It is evident that President Trump likes to take a “hands on approach” when dealing with issues. I believe we are dealing with a subject matter that both President Trump and former Prime Minister Mulroney would  be able to arrive at an amicable settlement, ensuring that the NAFTA is renegotiated and not terminated.

Although several rounds of negotiations have taken place, it is not too late for these parties to successfully renegotiate the NAFTA. They are most able and capable of doing so, however, opportunity must be presented and seized. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Ability is of little account without opportunity.


  1. Horse pucky. NAFTA always was and always will be a horrible treaty that should never have been signed. How can governments say they support free trade and then write and sign thousand+ page agreements like this that actually control and limit trade.
    It is a violation of our sovereignty to have this stupid treaty and its court and rulings have been shown to hurt Americans (for one example, identifying the source of food).
    Kill NAFTA today – forever.

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