The National Post (Feb.27, 2008) carried this story “Clinton, Obama target NAFTA, Canada Warned; Candidates would seek to renegotiate”:
“Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last night threatened the United States could opt out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if either is elected president, warning Canada and Mexico the deal is dead unless America wins concessions to strengthen labour and environmental standards.
During a nationally televised debate in Cleveland, the two Democratic presidential candidates suggested Canada and Mexico would be given just six months to make compromises on the deal in order to satisfy the U.S. government.
"I will say we will opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate," Ms. Clinton said. "I have said we will renegotiate NAFTA [and] you would have to say to Canada and Mexico, 'That's what we are going to do.' "
Said Mr. Obama: "We should use the hammer of a potential opt-out" to force Canada and Mexico to reopen trade talks.
The heated rhetoric over NAFTA -- a signature achievement during Bill Clinton's administration -- came as both Democratic candidates fought for votes in economically troubled Ohio, which has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the past decade.
The trade deal has become the central point of contention between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama over the past week, with the former first lady accusing her rival of falsely claiming she has been a supporter of a deal.
When confronted about past statements praising the deal, Ms. Clinton acknowledged NAFTA has helped boost the economy in other parts of the United States.
But Ms. Clinton maintained that, if she is elected U.S. president, her administration would "immediately have a trade time out" to write new, enforceable labour and environment standards into the deal.
"I believe Senator Clinton has shifted positions on this," Mr. Obama said.”
Looks like we received the answer to this Feb. 25 post: [Obama blames Canada and NAFTA for Ohio job losses]
So the Nut-O-Crats do want to dismantle the NAFTA agreement which President Clinton (Bill) signed with Mexico’s Salinas and Canada’s Chretien in 1993 !!
And all this nonsense is just to pander for votes in Ohio?
Where specifically are all these jobs that these Democrats claim have gone to Canada?
Both Clinton (Hillary) and Obama acknowledge that, on the whole, free trade has been beneficial for the U.S. So why are they using Ohio to wedge their issues against the other states of the Union? Don’t these presidential aspirants know that there are Canadians who are complaining that our jobs are being lost to the Americans !!?
Do these Democrats seriously believe that the United States somehow got a raw deal in the agreement that Democrat Bill Clinton signed almost fifteen years ago? Has Bill Clinton explained specifically where the agreement which he signed has failed??
If Obama and Hillary Clinton want to abandon NAFTA using the six-month-notice period, perhaps Canada should beat them to the punch – let’s opt out of NAFTA first. Let Obama and Hillary get their oil somewhere else. Let the Americans cut down their own forests. If the Yankee Democrats want a trade war, Canada should be ready. If these fake-free-market Democrats want protectionism, we should certainly retaliate. Canada could impose massive import duties on every U.S. product crossing the border. Is this what Democrats want? What, do Democrats think trade is only going to be a one way street?
You just can’t help but see the comparison to the blustery windbag Liberal Jean Chretien saying the same kind of stuff during his election campaign in 1993, when he was running for Prime Minister. He used Canadian nationalist chauvinism with a dollop of anti-Americanism to pander for votes. Then, he became the PM and became Mr. Free Trade personified! That’s probably the same playbook these American ‘Liberal’/Democrats are following.
These Democrats need a “time-out” on their own silly, dangerous rhetoric. Obama should put away his “hammer” threatening Canada and start building real prosperity, rather than creating false boogeymen and portraying NAFTA partners like Canada as some kind of job thieves. Canada should not be used as a convenient political strawman by manipulative American Democrats angling for votes. Ms. Clinton should be honest enough to stand behind her husband’s Free Trade agreement – it was good business for all parties involved.
Whether on health care, or on trade, these Democrats are dangerous. Canadians should recognize the trade threat that American Democrats pose and wish the Republicans well.