I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when President Obama - who ran as a fair trader - breached the the tiny matter of renegotiating the world's largest trading relationship with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper - an unabashed anti-fair trader.
Seems like it would be hard not just to break the ice, but to bust through the inherent iciness of that setup. Not real quotes:
The meeting was certainly a loaded affair, with heavies on both sides of the border monitoring to ensure that NAFTA fixes that put working people first would stay on the agenda. The AFL-CIO and Canadian Labour Congress sent a joint letter to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper, which reminds the North American leaders that the world's largest trading relationship hasn't always worked for the majority of us:
NAFTA has failed so badly to deliver for North American workers that there's no avoiding an elephant of these proportions. As GTW's Director Lori Wallach mentions to Reuters , President Obama promised change on trade policy, and change on trade policy is what people are still hoping for:
And again in today's WP:
"I am happy for him to frame his way of positioning the issue any way he wants, as long as he actually delivers on the issue," said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. "If down the road Obama doesn't deliver on the policy, there will be a whole lot of really upset people."
We'll be watching to see what comes of the meeting, but preliminary reports show no sign of Obama caving on the weighty topic.
(Photo Courtesy of Flickr user Jeff Macpherson)