National Newswatch

Trade talks with Canada proving ‘really, really difficult,’ with little progress: U.S. NAFTA negotiator

Aug 9 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Trade negotiations with Canada have been “really, really difficult,” achieving no substantial progress so far, says one of the United States’ top negotiators, offering a new glimpse at NAFTA-related tensions between the two countries. Gregg Doud, the chief U.S. agriculture negotiator, contrasted the Canadian stance with what he suggested was smooth sailing in talks with […]

Canada rejected in bid to be part of high-level NAFTA talks between Mexico and U.S.: sources

Jul 31 2018 — Tom Blackwell — American officials have taken the “highly unusual” step of rejecting Canada’s bid to take part in senior-level NAFTA talks between the U.S. and Mexico later this week, sources familiar with the trade negotiations said Monday. One person said attempts by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to get a seat at the table in Washington Thursday […]

Growing number of struggling U.S. dairy farmers look to supply management, as Trump urges Canada to kill it

Jul 25 2018 — Tom Blackwell — It’s a favourite grievance in President Donald Trump’s Twitter blasts at his northern neighbour: “Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. Farmers … Canada has treated our Agricultural business and Farmers very poorly.” The source of Trump’s ire is the supply-management system that controls milk production in Canada and limits imports from the U.S.; […]

NAFTA appears headed into bilateral talks, with U.S. looking to strike quick deal with Mexico: experts

Jul 20 2018 — Tom Blackwell — The on-again, off-again NAFTA talks appear headed in a whole new direction, one that could see the United States strike a quick deal with Mexico first, then turn to Canada with potentially added leverage, experts suggested Friday. The scenario might even result in the States sparing Mexico further punitive tariffs on steel or possibly cars, […]

U.S. still pushing for end to dairy supply management as part of NAFTA talks: diplomat

Jul 17 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Despite recent suggestions to the contrary, U.S officials negotiating a new NAFTA trade deal have demanded that Canada end its supply-management system for dairy and egg products, Ottawa’s deputy ambassador to the United States said Tuesday. And that request is a non-starter for Canada, Kirsten Hillman stressed to a conference here. The dairy sector has […]

Patrick Brown may be eyeing a return to politics after being urged to run for chair of Peel region

Jun 13 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Patrick Brown’s political resurrection may be starting in a suburban metropolis west of Toronto. The former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader, whose sudden resignation and its fallout shook Ontario politics for months this year, says he is being urged to run for chair of Peel region, which encompasses three cities with a population of 1.3 million. […]

“They don¹t want us to win”: Ford accuses media, pollsters of conspiring against Ontario PC victory in email blasts

Jun 5 2018 — Tom Blackwell — In his daily encounters with journalists during Ontario’s election campaign, Doug Ford seems eager to avoid confrontation — a contrast to the angry outbursts he directed at the press when late brother Rob was mayor of Toronto. But in a series of recent email blasts to party members, there’s been a different message, one that […]

Ontario PC leader says he’d like to bring in a U.S.-style “strong-mayor” system for cities: “one person in charge”

Jun 1 2018 — Tom Blackwell — Doug Ford wants Ontario municipalities to have the same kind of strong-mayor system as many big cities in the U.S., saying a more powerful chief magistrate would be preferable to the “free-for-all” of current councils. The suggestion is outlined in the book Ford wrote about his time at Toronto city hall, published 18 months ago […]

‘It’s a promise that someone else pays for’: NDP draws business ire with call for three weeks’ vacation after one year

May 30 2018 — Tom Blackwell — In the Ontario election’s ongoing war of voter inducements, the NDP added another sweetener Tuesday, unveiling its promise to require at least three weeks of vacation for all full-time employees. The policy would make Ontario just the second province to oblige businesses to provide more than two weeks off for employees after one year. New […]

Second Ontario PC candidate accused of using stolen 407 data denies he ever received it

May 24 2018 — Tom Blackwell — A second Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate accused of having used stolen customer lists from a private toll highway said Wednesday he never received the 407 data, and would have no need for it anyway. Harjit Jaswal also denied working with a controversial political organizer, prompting that man to produce a written agreement contradicting him. In […]