While testifying on NAFTA in front of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Canadian Prime Minister told them:

“Canada is privileged to have the United States as a neighbor and friend.  And the United States should thank its lucky stars, everyday, that they have Canada on their northern boarder.

This is is the most successful and peaceful bilateral agreement in world history”

“Canada is privileged to have the United States as a neighbor and friend.  And the United States should thank its lucky stars, everyday, that they have Canada on their northern boarder.

This is is the most successful and peaceful bilateral agreement in world history”

He then has an interview with CBC Power & Politics that you will find interesting:

[00:00:00] Former prime minister Brian Mulroney was given a rare invitation as a foreigner to appear before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee today and he joins us from Washington. Mr. Mulroney warned senators that when fear and anger fueled the trade debate protectionist impulses become as you described it a convenient handmaidens. How can Canadian negotiator negotiators overcome both of those motions which are clearly driving the debate. Now in order to avoid what you quoted Ronald Reagan as saying protectionism becoming destruction will undo them. How do you do that.

[00:00:35] Well President Reagan was of course right. And the degree of protectionism destroys jobs and eventually destroys the trading capacity of great nations. So what we have to do is keep what keep on what the government has been doing. They’ve got good negotiators they’ve got a good negotiating team. They’ve got a lot of support from the opposition parties in many ways which is extremely helpful. And you know there is no conservative way to negotiate NAFTA and there’s no liberal way to do it. There’s only a Canadian way. And it’s the way that we used in with the first Canada US free trade agreement and then NAFTA many years ago. And it requires patience and thoughtfulness and a generous approach you’ve got to listen to what the other two are saying. See if you can accommodate them honorably and if you can give some ground put some water in your wine and then move on and to do something else. I think that’s what the government is doing in this circumstance. And I certainly think they’re doing the right thing.

[00:01:42] The big challenge though sir is that there’s a missing connection between the prime minister and the president in 1980. You know you could pick up a phone and sell Ronald Reagan on changes in negotiations. It just doesn’t seem to be the case here. What’s your read on Trump as he blows hot and cold.

[00:01:58] How do we deal with that while he does with the views of the Naft and other things as well. But I think that the relationship that Prime Minister Trudeau has developed with President Trump is a very good one. One of the best of industrialized leaders in the world. And how do I know that. Well because President Trump told me that that was the case after some meetings with the with the Prime Minister Trudeau so that is our ace in the hole in many ways. He the prime minister can be counted upon to go down there in a crunch and say you know hey Mr. President Donald this is not going to fly this way and if you want to maintain this great trading relationship we’re all going to have to change a bit.

[00:02:55] So you’re not despairing at all of what you’re hearing you think that just untrue or really could speed dial Donald Trump and have him bend a little bit on these negotiations the way you do with Ronald Reagan I think so.

[00:03:09] And moreover if you listen carefully to what the senators told me today they made a stay at one of them made a senior senator made a statement saying I know of no words to this effect. I know of no one on this side of the street. Speaking of the Senate and in the House who is interested in seeing the collapse of NAFTA. Now nobody can tear up NAFTA or get rid of it without the approval of Congress. So this is not a small statement that was made today. This is extremely important for Canada.

[00:03:46] So we’ve got to keep a smile on our faces and our heads down and work hard and we’ll get there we keep talking and these negotiations about red lines that Canada can’t cross and poison pills and that sort of thing. Are there red lines that Canada can’t cross without compromising the essence of NAFTA. I know you worked hard to get Chapter 11 that dispute settlement mechanism put forward. Is that a red line. The candidate really shouldn’t be crossing without great deal of trepidation.

[00:04:19] And Chapter 19 look since that time there has been Canada’s or free trade agreement with the European Union with the TPP and they can look at the WTO.

[00:04:34] You could look at what has been done in those and see if you can’t find a first cousin or so of that that meets the approval of the other two partners. I don’t like the idea of red lines in negotiations I never did because you can generally people are reasonable when they see their their advantage. They’ll come to their senses and there will be an arrangement. Look Don a free trade agreement is of no value unless all the parties benefit. And in this case the benefits are clear. It’s a challenge however in some cases to make that case to some of the Americans involved.

[00:05:21] I’m curious Steve I’ve heard some criticism from people up here that Canada’s business community hasn’t adequately showcase the benefits of NAFTA to their American counterparts. Could more be done should more be done to showcase those benefits to both sides of the border.

[00:05:40] Look the government has done a very good job. I mean the embassy down here they’ve done a great job in getting the word out to governors to members of the House to senators to you name it. They’ve done a very good job in doing that across the country. And one of the component groups that is helping a great deal is the Canadian business community. I know of literally hundreds of cases where leading Canadians business people have been down here pounding on doors and making the case and we heard about it today. Like for example Senator Young from Indiana made it very clear he said look there 190000 jobs in my state that depend directly on trade with Canada. Anybody who’s going to tell me to cancel this has got a real fight ahead of them. So I think that that good work is done by people from Canada on a regular basis and I must say that I’m very impressed with the results.

[00:06:45] I’ve got to tell you is the weirdest darn thing if you do a news search on Brian Mulroney lately you know what comes up the big news topic with your name is that you’re the father of Caroline Mulroney a potential candidate for the Ontario Fisi leader. I couldn’t believe that. And your daughter in laws posted a yes or no charge on Instagram saying you know her followers should Caroline do she run. What’s your advice.

[00:07:12] You talking to your daughter saying it now is your time or are you saying all of you got a lot of time left before you have to commit well Caroline’s a wonderful young woman and she makes up her own mind on things. She talks to me regularly as she does to her her mom and her siblings. But she makes up her role and her own family and she makes up her own mind and your guest tonight is as good as mine as to what that’s going to be. But I’ll tell you this if she were to run and that she and she were to be successful she would be an outstanding representative for Ontario.

[00:07:55] I have met her and I’ve actually talked to you about her. I said who’s the political animal in your family and you always. Years ago I used white and straight the Carolinas said she is the one that might have the royal jelly of any of my kids do I wonder. Quickly last question on this. If you’re concerned that if she runs for this leadership she’s in a bit of a party that’s got an awful lot of image issues. Is this is this a good time to want to be leader of that party.

[00:08:23] Well who knows. We’ll have to wait and see until if she decides to run. And what she’s able to do if she does. But you know these things happen to all political parties and they’re fairly transparent and a new leader will turn the page and step out into the sunlight with new policies and a new approach and a new attitude and bring a new dimension to Ontario politics and if that were the case I think all of this stuff will vanish pretty quickly.

[00:08:53] Like a bad sunny ways coming no Ontario. All right Brian Mulroney always a pleasure having you. Thank you.

[00:09:01] Thank you Don.


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