Mr. Obama, meet Mr. Trudeau.

November 19, 2015

“We are both soon to be signatories (to) the TPP agreement,” said Mr. Obama, seated next to Mr. Trudeau in a small meeting room after media had been allowed to enter. “That’s another area (where) we can continue to have important discussions. I know Justin has (yet) to agree with (the treaty) what’s happened but we think that after that process has taken place Canada, the United States and the other countries that are here can establish the high-standards agreement that protects labour, protects the environment, protects the kind of high value-added goods and services that we both excel in (Globe and Mail, 19 November, 2015).”

This statement tells us a good deal about the man and shows a critical weakness in his thought pattern. Justin Trudeau appeals to Barrack Obama because of the younger man’s fresh latitude for action, unconstrained by the checks and balances which have rendered Obama’s tenure a litany of frustration.

But for Obama to be able is to do, even to be compelled to do. His mistake is in his assumption that “Justin” feels similar compulsion simply because he has the political mandate to enact just about any legislation he sees fit.

A more alert American president would have done his homework.

The Canadian Parliament may well approve the T.P.P. treaty, but it certainly won’t be because an overly anxious U.S. president tried to co-opt his new pal “Justin” into giving momentum to his own battle with Congress to pass the bill.

Trudeau’s trail is littered with the shattered careers of those who underestimated him.

Far more likely the cost of TPP approval will be a revision to the auto parts agreement, or even a pipeline, and Obama shouldn’t expect anything for some time, though Trudeau likely won’t make America wait seven years for a decision.

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