National Newswatch

Canada faces a foreign-policy fork in the road. Are voters hungry for change?

May 25 2019 — Colin Robertson — Tweets and soundbites are the fast food of communicating policy. Like news releases, they are frequent but mostly shallow, narrow-cast, and platitudinous. There is not a lot of “there” there, so a well-prepared speech, especially on foreign policy, deserves digesting. Speaking recently in Montreal, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer gave what diplomats call a “meat and […]

Don’t celebrate just yet. USMCA is far from being a done deal

Oct 3 2018 — Colin Robertson — A proposed deal – not NAFTA 2.0 but, in deference to U.S. President Donald Trump who initiated this 13-month odyssey, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Judging by the market reaction, the USMCA should be good enough to thaw the chill shared by investors, both Canadian and foreign, since the negotiations began. We are not out of […]

Why Canada should invest more – and now – in our own security

Jul 10 2018 — Colin Robertson — Obnoxious he is, but when it comes to NATO burden-sharing, U.S. President Donald Trump has a point. With the United States shouldering almost two-thirds of defence expenditures by the alliance members, the other 28 members, including Canada, can do more. At this week’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should commit to […]

NAFTA: A Primer for the Montreal Round

Jan 19 2018 — Colin Robertson — The outcome of the upcoming Montreal round (Jan. 23-28, 2018) of the NAFTA negotiations will give us a sense of whether a new agreement is possible – one that includes dispute settlement on trade disputes, as well as accommodations on government procurement and content rules for autos – or whether we need to look to […]

NAFTA Renegotiations: Fish or Cut Bait

Oct 10 2017 — Colin Robertson — It’s fish-or-cut-bait time for the NAFTA renegotiations. Negotiators reassemble in Washington this week (Oct. 11-15) with their sights on the elephants in the room – the U.S. demands around dispute settlement, rules of origin, “Buy American” on procurement and a sunset clause. The Americans, who initiated these renegotiations to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, are […]

America First: The Global Trump at Six Months

Jul 19 2017 — Colin Robertson — In action and words, President Donald Trump, like Candidate Donald Trump, continues to demonstrate a “spectacle of excess.” Blunt and abrasive, bombastic and brash, Donald Trump is an insurgent. He campaigned as the champion of America’s “forgotten men and women” and his “America First” policy draws unabashedly on nativism, populism and protectionism.

A Canadian Primer to the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7-8, 2017

Jul 5 2017 — Colin Robertson — This Thursday and Friday, the leaders of the major economic nations, their finance ministers and central bankers meet in Germany’s northern port city of Hamburg, birthplace of their host, Chancellor Angela Merkel. It’s their 12th summit to discuss global economic and financial issues. The summit cannot ignore geopolitics. Conflict continues in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen […]

A Canadian Primer to the G20 Summit

Sep 2 2016 — Colin Robertson — On Sunday and Monday the leaders of the major economic nations, their finance ministers, and central bankers will meet to discuss global economic and financial issues in Hangzhou, China. This will be the first time China has hosted the G20 Summit. Hangzhou was chosen as this year’s host due to its natural beauty and because […]

A Canadian Agenda for the USA: Obama and Beyond

Mar 8 2016 — Colin Robertson — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can use this week’s Washington Summit to advance Canadian interests with the Obama Administration. Successful outcomes in Washington will also help to set both the agenda and right mood for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit and, next January, for opening discussions with the next U.S. Administration. A Canadian action agenda […]

To be a world player, Trudeau must spend on defence

Feb 18 2016 — Colin Robertson — In developing Canada’s new defence strategy, the federal government faces the pressure of events and some fundamental constraints. The first and most challenging constraint is budgetary. Budgets are to strategy what teeth are to lips. The Speech from the Throne promised investment in a “leaner, more agile, better-equipped military.” It will certainly be leaner, given […]