I don’t own a television. One reason is that I often learn a lot more, a lot faster, by reading. Another reason is TV news is forever presenting a world in constant state of panic. Everything is an emergency. TV talking heads love to peddle fear and, clearly, people like to be frightened. The evidence is the growing and thriving horror movie industry.
In early September, it seemed that trade negotiations with the United States were down to the wire and had to be wrapped up by Friday. Canada would have to cave on supply management or else. Or else what? The deadline passed and absolutely nothing happened. No one walked away from the table. A trade war did not erupt. There was nothing to fear.
Then, late Sunday, Sept. 30, a deal was reached and it turned out that U.S. President Donald Trump was not the oppressive scary tyrant that Canada’s foreign affairs minister and much of the news media want us to believe. Canada was the scarier negotiator.
TV news talking heads seemed disappointed that President Trump, the man we apparently all need to worry about, could actually reach a deal. Let’s see, the man wrote a best-selling book called The Art of the Deal and has been part of building hundreds of companies. He encouraged many companies to come back to the United State to do business and unemployment is at historic lows, while business optimism is at all-time highs.
I find it fascinating how TV news (I do watch the networks online when I want to monitor the spin) on both sides of the border have become so left-leaning. I often need to go elsewhere to get perspective.
Trump wanted new trade deals almost everywhere to correct what he saw as deals that killed American jobs and limited American access to foreign markets. After the devastation of the Second World War, the United States, in an effort to rebuild the world, entered trade deals offering greater benefits to other nations. Socialist governments and the Cold War hampered progress for a while but the 2018 edition of the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal annual index of trade freedom reports that “the past two decades have been the most prosperous in the history of human kind.”
The world recovered and there is no need for ongoing unfair trade policies, Trump argued. Where’s the unfair trade? For example, you don’t see many U.S. cars in Europe, China or Japan. While the United States imposes a 2.5 per cent tariff on car imports, Europe imposes a 10 per cent tariff on U.S. cars, while China imposes a 25 per cent tariff. China also won’t allow U.S. companies into China unless they hand over their intellectual property. Japan’s policies are so restrictive that for every 100 Japanese cars imported into the United States, only one U.S. car is exported to Japan. True, the United States does impose a 25 per cent tariff on foreign trucks.
Faced with new tariffs, China is finally talking to the United States. Trump used the same tactic with Canada: Renegotiate or face new tariffs.
Canada stumbled right out of the starting gate. We opened negotiations with the ridiculous idea that feminism is the most important item on the agenda. Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland participated in a Toronto panel discussion called “Taking on a Tyrant” that was an obvious slander against our neighbour. And when Trump called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Aug. 27, Trudeau offended our largest customer by not taking the call. Who doesn’t take a call from his largest customer?
When it comes to trade, people don’t want posturing or virtue signaling. People want jobs and confidence in the future. Thank goodness, behind-the-scenes veteran negotiators on both sides were at the table. TV news media provided the entertainment, creating heroes and villains.
The show could have dragged on for many more months and the deal could have been a lot worse.