I’m feeling guilty for not updating this site in almost 4 years! So much has happened.
Perhaps the most important update is that I moved from the Canadian capital in Ottawa, Ontario, to the chaos in Washington, DC as a foreign corespondent with CTV National News. I arrived here in 2016 just in time to cover its historic election, and it’s been the most incredible assignment of my career:
Trump Rally in Tampa Florida/Oct 2016
There’s no shortage of opinion/analysis on Trump’s presidency so I won’t bore you with mine. But one thing I promised myself the night he won is that I would brush up on my NAFTA file ahead of messy trade talks. So let’s focus on that story:
The bromance between President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to start off well, but soured quickly. Trump called Trudeau “weak” and White House advisors didn’t respect Trudeau’s globalist world view.
When Trump escalated threats to scrap NAFTA entirely, it triggered a frantic scramble behind-the-scenes to salvage talks – which included an intervention directly from the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Here’s a yarn I broke during those tense times:
Behind the scenes: Why Trump changed his mind on NAFTA
We covered almost every NAFTA round including high stakes talks in Mexico City. Top sources often complained that Americans were getting frustrated by Canadian negotiators who warned of “red lines” on various proposals, but refused to provide counter-proposals. Canadians, meantime, would spin that Americans were being “unreasonable” and often questioned how a nationalist government could negotiate a free trade deal in good faith
Throughout, I kept hearing Canada’s refusal to crack open its protected dairy market was a “deal breaker” for Americans more than auto and intellectual property.
When the deal was eventually finalized, I had a chance to ask President Trump that question directly in the Rose Garden. Watch his response here:
The President just told our @richardmadan that "dairy was a deal breaker" when it came to trade negotiations with Canada. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/9J2Up89nKk
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) October 1, 2018
Of course, I have several more stories I’ll share with you eventually But this one stands out because it connected my Canadian expertise with my American experience.