Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rebuilding and Expanding the North American Relationship

By Dana Gabriel

A major priority for Canada’s new prime minister is to reset the relationships with both the U.S. and Mexico. There is a real opportunity for all three countries to recommit to building a North American community. This includes expanding political, security and economic cooperation, as well as greater coordination on issues such as energy and the environment. Further deepening Canada-Mexico ties is one of the keys to strengthening continental relations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which builds on the commitments of NAFTA could also help take North American trilateral integration to the next level.

During a foreign policy speech before he became Prime Minister, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau emphasized the importance of North America and outlined his plans to improve Canada’s relationship with its NAFTA partners. He discussed some of the problems facing Mexico and how Canada could help solve them. Trudeau noted, “In many areas, Canadians have the necessary expertise to address Mexico’s needs, from the building of public institutions to infrastructure development to civil policing. We should see in Mexico opportunities to develop our relations and our economies.” He went on to say, “What does this mean for Canada and the Canada-U.S. relationship? In my view, it means that we must once again look at the relationship in a continental context. We must see our own future in the future of North America.” Trudeau also proposed creating a special cabinet committee to manage Canada-U.S. relations and promised to work towards reducing barriers to trade and commerce between both countries. Furthermore, he pledged to push for a North American agreement on clean energy and the environment.