Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “good will tour” in Mexico was a resting stop amidst tough trade talks in the US this month. Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto are leaning on each other as they fight to hold on to NAFTA. They’re up against an unpredictable opponent. Whether or not two-against-one will be enough to keep NAFTA on the table is still uncertain.
While Niteo’s voice was brought to the English speaking masses of Canada, the country’s ethnic media outlets were voicing their concern in their own papers and radio shows. Demands from the US were rising, and Canada and Mexico were making a big show of having each other’s backs.
Canada’s Spanish, Punjabi and Italian outlets had the most to say about NAFTA and Trudeau’s Mexican visit. Punjabi Morning 93.1 in Vancouver talked about Canada’s role as a mediator between the United States’ and Mexico. The next day on the show, Harjinder Thind talks about the “troubled water” that NAFTA is sailing on as Trump keeps changing his mind. He mentions the rift in negotiations caused by the “sunset clause”—Trump’s demand that should NAFTA renegotiations be approved, the pact would only hold for five years. Toronto’s Punjabi Post reports on warnings from trade experts and prominent business lobby groups about Trump’s “outrageous” demands.
Francesco Veronesi wrote for Corriere Canadese about the talks and Trump’s possible willingness to “take a shot in the dark” by leaving NAFTA. He mentioned Canada and Mexico’s desire to join forces to take on Trump’s “intransigence.” A week later Veronesi was calling the NAFTA talks a “roadmap of American blackmail,” talking about the sunset clause and demands for more American only parts in the auto industry.
Mexican outlets were paying attention to Trudeau’s visit as well. El Diario discussed the criticism and shaming of Mexican parliamentarians for breaking protocol and acting like “fans” in front of the Prime Minster. Trudeau was considered an insider when it came to dealing with Donald Trump, an article in Capital de México noted.
BuzzFeed.com published a collection of memes that “perfectly describe the visit of Justin Trudeau in Mexico” by José Luis Hernández, Mexico’s BuzzFeed editor. The Memes featured the Prime Minister’s appearance, he and Nieto’s budding bromance, an army of minions, and Trudeau and Nieto as the stars of Twilight and Beauty and the Beast. The post got 14,000 reactions, 702 comments and 2,000 shares on Facebook.
As Canada and Mexico continue to sort out their trade relationships, both countries’ leaders appear keen to let this teamwork continue in other parts of international diplomacy. The initiatives for gender equality, language exchange programs for Mexican students to study in Canada and July’s record levels of Mexican visitors to Canada are hopeful signs. If the tri-lateral agreements fail, he’s certain there will be bi-lateral agreements to fill the gaps.
With negotiations pushed back to 2018, whether or not two-against-one will be enough to steer Trump back in the direction of cooperation is yet to be seen, but Trudeau and Nieto seem committed to their bromance and cooperation—regardless of the obstacles they face from their neighbour in the middle.
Written by Caora McKenna