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Trade policy, negotiations to test Trudeau government’s mettle this year

By David Crane      

How well, or poorly, Canada handles each of these negotiations may very well determine whether it wins the 2019 federal election—and whether the much-vaunted middle class faces a richer or poorer future. Trade policy will test all of the government’s skills, or lack thereof.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, pictured on the Hill on Dec. 19, 2017, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in Ottawa for bilateral trade talks. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

TORONTO—Trade policy—and trade negotiations—will test the mettle and competence of the Trudeau government this year far beyond any big tests it has faced to date. The risks are high, with big implications for exports, the dollar, jobs and investment. How well, or badly, the Trudeau government handles the trade files could also determine the outcome of next year’s election—will the government be seen as a successful and competent trade negotiator or will it be blamed for any failures or setbacks and the resulting economic damage?

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