Bill Kelly: Is Canada’s NAFTA long game paying off?

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the South Lawn before their meeting about the NAFTA trade agreement at the White House in Washington. October 11, 2017. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

During the early days of the NAFTA renegotiations, and amid a flurry of bombastic and incendiary comments from Donald Trump and his acolytes about tearing up the deal, the Canadian reaction was always cool and measured.

Neither Prime Minister Trudeau nor his captain of the NAFTA team, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland took the bait and engaged in what could only have been a counterproductive argument.

READ MORE: Chrystia Freeland: A lot can happen in 6 months after a notice of NAFTA withdrawal

While the Trump team seemed content to score points with political rhetoric, the Canadian side reassured us that the negotiations were not a sprint, but a marathon and that they were committed to staying at the table and finding a deal that worked for all sides.

Well, it could be that Canada’s “long game” strategy is paying off.

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READ MORE: Around the world, automakers urge Donald Trump to keep NAFTA

Trump announced over the weekend that he’s open to the idea of extending the NAFTA talks beyond the next couple of scheduled meetings, and while that may not seem like much on the surface, it’s a huge shift from his past threats to tear up the deal or walk away from the table.

Why the change of heart?

With Trump, who knows?

And of course, this could all change with the next Trump mood swing, but, for now, it’s good news for the Canadians, and they haven’t seen much of that in these negotiations.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News

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