Every week in 2017, iAffairs compiled a media roundup of Canada in International Headlines. To wrap up 2017, we aggregated a frequency analysis over the last year’s main international stories to determine what international media outlets considered the most important events in Canada. The list below summarizes these findings.
Perhaps the biggest story of the year covered by international news media was the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The fifth round of renegotiation concluded in Mexico City on November 21, with a sixth round scheduled from January 23-28, 2018, in Montreal. The Trump Administration has taken a hardline stance, and Canada has opposed a US provision that would create more jobs for American automobile manufacturers. Both Canada and Mexico have also taken issue with the Trump Administration’s proposal – known as the “sunset clause” – that the Agreement be up for renewal every five years. Furthermore, the US’ decision to impose duties on Bombardier’s CSeries jets sparked outrage both from within Canada, and the UK, as the move would likely result in large scale job loss in both countries.
Disagreement has also ensued concerning the “rules of origin,” which provide countries the basis to determine which goods receive preferential tariff treatment as part of NAFTA. With the Trump Administration threatening to cancel NAFTA if sufficient concessions are not made, the future of the trade deal remains unclear; it is likely that NAFTA renegotiation will be among the most important stories of 2018, just as it was in 2017.
CNN: Canada and Mexico prepare for life without NAFTA.
Bloomberg: U.S. seeks end of Canada dairy system as latest Nafta talks wrap.
Forbes: Trump administration goes after Canadian aircraft maker during NAFTA talks. Why?
Business Insider: U.S. to partially unveil key NAFTA proposal, talks seen dragging.
KTIC Radio: NAFTA talks move to Canada.
Sputnik: Amid NAFTA talks, US to announce key proposals, protract on auto.
Deutsche Welle: Negotiators upbeat as they wrap up NAFTA talks round.
Bangor Daily News, Maine: Canada’s NAFTA negotiators may find an unusual ally in LePage.
New York Times: Canada wants a new Nafta to include gender and indigenous rights.
TRUMP AND TRUDEAU
Another important story over the past year was the relationship between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump. While Trudeau and President Obama had a close relationship with one another (many have even referred to it as a ‘bromance’), PM Trudeau and President Trump could not be more different. At the same time, however, the bilateral relationship between Canada and the US means that it is in both states’ interest to maintain close relations, despite the difference in their leadership.
In their first meeting, on February 13, both Trump and Trudeau affirmed the close relationship between Canada and the US. When asked about his take on Mr. Trump’s hardline stance on immigration, the PM did not criticize President Trump, but noted that Canada maintains a policy of openness, mirroring the message from his #WelcomeToCanada tweet two weeks prior. The leaders met again in Washington in October to further the dialogue surrounding NAFTA.
Liberation News: Trump and Trudeau: More in common than not.
Newsweek: Canada not a NAFTA target, has a ‘very special status,’ says Trump advisor.
The Daily Caller: Trudeau sets up ‘war room’ to monitor Trump.
Migration was another important issue covered by international news media over the past year. The year saw an influx of asylum seekers, including those seeking entry illegally. More than 1000 asylum seekers crossed into Manitoba from the US this past year. Additionally, nearly 7000 asylum seekers — many of whom were Haitian — sought entry into Canada via the Quebec-New York border in mid-July, as the Trump Administration announced that it may rescind their temporary protected status.
Another major story, and an important catalyst for the influx in the number of asylum seekers seeking intro into Canada, concerned President Trump’s signing of Executive Order 13769, colloquially termed “The Muslim Ban.” In response to this decision, and the Trump Administration’s hardline stance on immigration, a number of advocacy and human rights organizations called for the suspension of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), a bilateral US-Canada agreement stating that asylum seekers must claim asylum in whichever of the two countries they first arrive. While the STCA bars asylum seekers from claiming refugee status when entering Canada from the US at official ports of entry, the treaty does not apply to unofficial crossings, a loophole which has led to a number of refugee claimants seeking entry and refugee status at unofficial crossings.
Washington Post: Canada’s asylum claims are spiking dramatically. Will it restrict its welcome at last?
Washington Examiner: Canada on track to see 40 percent hike in asylum-seekers by year’s end
Aljazeera: In pursuit of asylum on the US-Canada border.
Addustour, Jordan: Refugee status in Canada isn’t easy to attain.
Reuters: Exclusive: Almost half of Canadians want illegal border crossers deported.
Foreign Policy: Illegal immigrants may not find warm welcome in Canada.
2017 saw Prime Minister Trudeau deliver on his campaign promise to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Bill C-45 had its first reading on April 13, and received final approval in the House of Commons on November 27. While it was originally believed that marijuana would be legalized from July 1, 2018, threats by Conservative senators that the passage of the bill in the Senate will be stalled, suggest that legalization will be postponed. This was later confirmed by PM Trudeau on December 19, when he listed “next summer,” and not July 1, as the projected date of legalization.
Bill C-45 was met with mixed reactions, with some celebrating it as a step forward, while others claimed that it will result in a much more punitive criminal justice response to marijuana-related crimes. Selling marijuana to a minor, for example, is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. According to the Bill, 18 years of age is the legal age limit to purchase marijuana, and 30 grams is the maximum amount that can be legally possessed at any one time.
Franceinfo: Canadian Government to introduce legislation legalizing cannabis
Sputnik: Green Light: Canada to Legalize Marijuana by July 2018
A.V. Club: America’s cool neighbor Canada to legalize weed.
Business Insider: There’s a potentially crippling shortage of marijuana in Canada.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) entered into force provisionally on September 21, 2017, providing Canadian companies greater access to the EU market. This development seemed unlikely to some, given that one of Belgium’s regional governments voted to reject the trade deal in October 2016 — a particularly significant decision, given that the deal requires unanimous approval from involved states. In response, the Canadian Government sent a special envoy to meet with Belgian officials, and two weeks later, on October 30, the free trade deal was signed.
Some see the deal beneficial for Canadian businesses, as it includes larger trade quotas for agricultural products, and allows Canadian companies to bid on European projects. Others, however, have criticized the deal, citing its potential to: threaten job creation; adversely affect food sovereignty and the rights of Canadian farmers; and lead to an ecological crisis.
Russia Today: Trojan Horse CETA: Protests arise after agreement approval.
Express.co.uk : Canada-EU trade deal is ‘model to the world’ brags Justin Trudeau.
The Local: Trudeau to meet Merkel, EU to discuss controversial trade deal.
Nabil Bhatia is an M.A. candidate at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, where he specializes in Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution. He has written on emerging security issues for the NATO Association of Canada, and his work on transnational crime is scheduled for publication in December 2017. His research interests include: homegrown and transnational terrorism, radicalization to violence, comparative counter-terrorism strategy, and transnational crime. You can connect with Nabil at email@example.com.
Natalie LaMarche is a first year JD/MA candidate in the Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution field at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and is pursuing her law degree at the University of Ottawa. She is particularly interested in international humanitarian law, conflict and security, development and human rights.
Lance Hadley is a PhD Candidate at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and Managing Director of iAffairs.
Katarina Koleva is a PhD Candidate at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and Managing Director of iAffairs.