Thursday August 10, 2017

How should Canada handle North Korea?

In this April 15, 2017, file photo, a missile that analysts believe could be the North Korean Hwasong-12 is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.

In this April 15, 2017, file photo, a missile that analysts believe could be the North Korean Hwasong-12 is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. (Wong Maye-e/Associated Press)

Listen to Full Episode 49:55

Donald Trump's bombastic language around North Korea — and North Korea's escalating rhetoric directed back at the United States — has the world on edge, so what role could Canada potentially play in the war of words?

"Canada has to try and encourage multilateralism on this issue as much as possible," said Canadian Andrea Berger, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in London, England.

"Normally there would be U.S. leadership to develop that multilateralism. That isn't really the case right now."

But, she added, "Canada is not central to this issue. It's not really a target of North Korea's nuclear missile programs or any of its threats."

That means the United States has one clear goal, in Berger's opinion: "We need to find a way to get to the point of being able to talk to the North Koreans without conditions or all the political barriers normally associated with that dialogue," she said.

There's just one problem.

"In order to climb down the ladder, you have to give the North Koreans an off-ramp. And Trump seems patently unwilling to do that," Berger said.

What will save the whales?

whale rescue, Bay of Fundy

A North Atlantic right whale was freed from fishing lines in the Bay of Fundy near Campobello Island on Aug. 13. (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

The deaths of 10 right whales so far in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this summer is giving the government cause for concern — and prompting immediate action.

New mandatory measures to slow down commercial vessel traffic is one step that Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc hopes will have an impact.

"Scientists believe contact with vessels and shipping gear are potentially two main causes of death," he said. "The challenge around right whales is that they migrate, they move."

"We need to continue a very aggressive aerial and on-the-water surveillance program to try and have the most reliable data as to where these whales are at any given time."

LeBlanc also discussed the litigation cabinet committee he chairs, and the federal government's approach to the 40-50,000 pieces of civil litigation it faces as a defendant. 

"One of the things the Prime Minister wanted was for us to have much more of a policy coherence around the defence of these lawsuits," he said. 

"Our cabinet committee doesn't look at a case-by-case basis on individual files, that's the purview of the attorney general," he said.

"What we do is work with her to say, 'OK, if we have cases involving public safety, cases involving equality rights, cases of treatment of persons in custody, or involving environmental or Indigenous issues, how is government looking across the broad policy context at either defending these cases...or settling them in a reasonable or fair way?'"

Nebraska governor encourages Trump to not 'disrupt' relationship with Canada

Death Penalty Nebraska Pete Ricketts

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts gestures during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) (Nati Harnik/Associated Press)

The first member of the billionaire Ricketts family to support Donald Trump said he's been telling the U.S. administration to not take their Canada relationship for granted.

With the number of sleeps until NAFTA negotiations get underway in the single digits, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said trade and his state's beef industry are top topics whenever he talks to the president.

"I've talked to the administration. I've encouraged them to make sure we don't disrupt that great relationship," Ricketts told Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House.  

"You've got a lot of really smart people in that administration. We've communicated with them the importance of it and I think they're going to do the right thing."

Ricketts's father Joe founded TD Ameritrade and his family owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field. The patriarch of the Ricketts family initially opposed Trump in the Republican primaries, but then put his weight behind the now-president.

Trump had threatened to expose secrets about his family, tweeting that the Ricketts family "better be careful, they have a lot to hide!"

"It means that I'll start spending on them. I'll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they're doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me," Trump later clarified to the Washington Post, months before the team clinched the 2016 World Series.

His brother Todd was tapped to be Trump's deputy secretary of commerce but later withdrew.

Ricketts is in Canada until Friday on a trade mission with meetings with both government and business officials in Toronto and Ottawa.

Canada is Nebraska's largest export market and brings in more than 57.000 jobs— making Ricketts's visit similar to when a restaurant chef greets a star table.

"One of the reasons why I'm here in Canada is to thank our best customers here and let them know we appreciate the relationship and we're not taking it for granted," said Ricketts.

Don't go backwards on NAFTA, warns Conservative critic


Conservative MP Randy Hoback will have the chance to ask Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and other Canadian trade officials questions on Monday to review Canada's priorities for NAFTA renegotiations, which kick off in Washington two days later.

On Wednesday, Canadian officials will take their seat at the table for the official first round of NAFTA renegotiations, but just two days before, Foreign Affiars Minister Chrystia Freeland will sit in front of the House of Common's Standing Committee on International Trade.

For Conservative MP and Canada-U.S. relations critic Randy Hoback, it's a chance to dig deeper into how Canada will approach NAFTA 2.0.

"We're not looking for the details and the strategy of how we're going to negotiate. We're just looking for some general knowledge on exactly what kind of things they're going to be talking about," the chair of the trade committee said.

"I think we also have to be aware of the fact that the business community is sitting on pins and needles because they have a lot at stake," he said. "And then of course, the issue of do no harm. Don't go backwards, make sure this agreement moves forward."

Hoback said he'll be asking Freeland about the prep work she and the Liberal government have done before they head to Washington next week.  

In House weighs Brad Wall's legacy


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall during the 2015 First Ministers' meeting in Ottawa. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Brad Wall's resignation means Canada is losing one of its most outspoken provincial conservative voices.

"His resignation will change the dynamics of the federal-provincial relationship," said Joel-Denis Bellavance, bureau chief for La Presse.

"Mr. Wall was a very credible, very articulate voice expressing Western Canada's views very dynamically."

Mia Rabson of the Canadian Press agreed.

"Premier Wall was, for a very long time, the only one around that premiers' table who was sort of an opposing voice [to the Prime Minister]. He was the one that was outspoken, and because he was so popular, whatever he said had a lot of weight."

Rabson added that Wall's 10-year tenure as premier changed the way people in Saskatchewan viewed their province.

"He gave them some confidence back in the province. When he took over the province, the economy hadn't been great. Thanks to oil prices and commodity prices, the province economically was booming, people started actually moving to Saskatchewan, house prices started going up," she said.

"People in Saskatchewan have a lot of confidence in their province that they didn't have before Wall became premier."