Until now, pretty much all of Canada had Justin Trudeau’s back in his Nafta fight with U.S. President Donald Trump — but cracks are emerging as some pivot to blame him if the pact falls apart.
The U.S. is using a deal it announced with Mexico on Monday to pressure Canada into signing on. That’s exposing rifts within the Canadian Conservative Party, Trudeau’s main opposition, which had mostly refrained from criticizing the prime minister on this issue. Prominent former Conservative lawmakers stuck to supporting the government in talks, but Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer blamed Trudeau.
The problem for the prime minister, who was elected in 2015 in spite of Conservative attacks that he was a lightweight who was “just not ready” to govern, is that any indication he allowed Nafta to collapse could sour public opinion, as his embarrassing trip to India did earlier this year. So too could horse-trading if, for instance, he makes concessions on a dairy regime that’s more popular in some parts of the country than others. Public opinion has largely backed Trudeau until now. Canada’s next election is scheduled for late 2019.
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