Earlier this week the CTV reported that a senior Obama staffer had quietly reassured Canadian diplomats that his talk of pulling out of NAFTA unless it’s renegotiated is just campaign rhetoric. CTV also says Sen. Hillary Clinton’s camp has sent similar signals to Ottawa about her scapegoating of NAFTA in hard-fought Ohio.
But apparently the candidates, they beg to differ.
The editors at the Chronicle Herald had this to say on the subject:
Personally, I never have been a huge fan of NAFTA but to the above, I must say Hear, Hear.
It would be surprising if either camp does fess up to blowing NAFTA smoke in Ohio. But that’s exactly what both are doing in the tired old stump game of pandering to those who wrongly blame trade deals for job losses in America.
So forget about manufacturing jobs moving to China, India and America’s own sunbelt states to satisfy the U.S. consumer’s love affair with ever-lower prices. Don’t remind Ohio voters that Canada and Mexico are the most important markets for U.S. exports. Never mind that Ohio has a trade surplus with Canada. Or that tossing an agreement which allows Ohio-made engines to move duty-free to Ontario-assembled cars would be bad for both countries.
It’s just so much easier to ignore these NAFTA benefits and dumb it down to a big, faceless, soundbite conspiracy.
We can’t honestly believe intelligent leaders like Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton imagine Ohio factories are moving to Canada despite an inflated loonie. Or that the greenback’s decline isn’t a U.S. opportunity to sell to Canada and Mexico.
They surely know the value of NAFTA’s guarantee of secure access to Canadian oil and gas. We doubt they prefer a Middle East monopoly at the pumps. Or want Mexico to revert to instability, slow growth and hostility to investment.
Too bad they can’t be honest about what America’s interests and who America’s friends are.