Trudeau’s New York Commencement Speech Just Another Poor Attempt At Global PR Management

Trudeau’s address in New York City had more to do with his public global image than with winning over support for the deal.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses as he addresses the media on the terrorist attacks in Paris prior to his departure for the G20 and APEC summits from Ottawa, Friday November 13, 2015. Trudeau says Canada has offered all the support it can to France following Friday's attacks in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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You had to watch it on television to believe it. A Canadian prime minister was standing in the middle of Yankee Stadium in New York City Wednesday giving a commencement address to students at a New York University.

New York is in Canada right?

Well, maybe it is to Trudeau as he negotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Mexico. Maybe, he thinks if he can get U.S. students on his side that will help.

The truth is the North American Free Trade Agreement is in trouble. And Trudeau’s address in New York City had more to do with his public global image than with winning over support for the deal.

“When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke before thousands of students assembled for convocation at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, he did his best to inspire. But there’s a shadow hanging over the PM’s 16th official trip to the United States: the future of NAFTA,” writes Catherine Cullen of CBC News.

“The clock is about to run out on an unofficial NAFTA deadline, smack in the middle of Trudeau’s three-day U.S. visit. Congress has told American negotiators it needs a signed NAFTA agreement by May 17; otherwise it won’t be able to pass the deal during the current sitting.”

Well, it’s not going to happen.

If you listen to the news on CNN or MSNBC or any other U.S. network for that matter, the news is about the impending meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.

The U.S. networks are more worried about whether that meeting will accomplish anything than whether NAFTA talks will succeed.

And where’s NAFTA’s Canadian wonder woman, Chrystia Freeland?

No sign of her.

Looks like Trudeau has just about given up on Freeland negotiating a deal. After all, when Freeland first jumped into her role, the first order of business was to get gender and indigenous rights into the free trade talks. That drew a lot of laughs from the U.S. and Mexico and went absolutely nowhere.

So here we are near deadline day for an agreement and no agreement in sight.

Trump and Trudeau did discuss NAFTA in a phone call Monday. Yet in an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington the same day, Trump’s own commerce secretary responded in the negative when asked whether any major issues had been resolved lately.

“I don’t believe that any of the big hot topics (were),” Wilbur Ross said.

The Global News story talked about negotiations surrounding dairy products and prescription drugs, but there are a whole lot more stumbling blocks getting in the way of getting a new NAFTA deal signed.

“There are a handful of unresolved issues. I’m just not,” Congressional leader Paul Ryan said, before cutting himself off, saying he didn’t want to make news.

Maybe the CBC’s Cullen summed it up best: “Trudeau undoubtedly will continue to sing the praises of open trade and the importance of the Canada-U.S. relationship during this trip. He’ll meet again with business leaders and regional politicians to enlist their help in pushing for a renegotiated NAFTA. By actively pursuing that strategy as the clock runs out, Trudeau might blunt some of the criticism he can expect if he fails to land a deal this year. But the question remains whether he can offer anything more concrete than words at this point.”

Maybe, that’s why Trudeau was standing on the grounds of Yankee Stadium trying to make his impossible dream come true. Successful NAFTA negotiations could form a pillar in Trudeau’s 2019 re-election campaign. Unfortunately, for him that is, it doesn’t look as if it’s going to happen. Freeland couldn’t get it done; Trudeau won’t get it done. The man who will end it all is President Trump. And he won’t end it with his signature. He’ll end it by doing nothing….absolutely nothing.


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  1. trudeau is way over his head, no one take him seriously, and the states see through him and his idiotic ideas about free trade and rights, he is a boy dreaming he can do great things, but hasn’t realized he is dealing with adults that know what is going on in the real world, i am surprised the state would even talk to him after allowing terrorist back into canada and rewarding them, he speaks for himself not the vast majority of canada. we canadians are embarrassed of such a failure of a leader

  2. This rather sad and pathetic trust fund kid actually imagines regurgitating extreme Left ideological dribble to a group of spoiled university kids may be the way forward on NAFTA negotiations. Perhaps Canada’s halfwit thinks that American brats can bring pressure to bear on their parents who have all been laughing at him since he became PM.

    1. What – the drama teacher (who couldn’t even get a permanent job in that field), can’t accomplish anything at the international level? He’s in so far over his head he needs a snorkel to breathe.

Jeff Wilkinson

Jeff Wilkinson is a retired writer, who worked 35 years in print and broadcast journalism before retiring. He also served in the press operations crews at the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

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