The NAFTA talks began six months ago in Washington. It was brutally hot and the only people who wanted to be outside were Chrystia Freeland’s handlers.
They staged a late afternoon press conference with the minister on an east-facing, uncovered terrace at the Canadian Embassy, which sits on Pennsylvania Avenue. Nothing was stopping Freeland’s staff from taking full symbolic advantage of a shot with the Capitol in the background.
Ten or so journalists endured the heat, as did a similar number of officials, who gathered to sweat in solidarity while their boss faced the television cameras. And there were a couple of middle-aged men who probably had no business attending an official press conference, but who had decided it was in their interest to be there. Those men were Jerry Dias, the head of Unifor, which represents more than 23,000 Canadian auto workers, and Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.
Freeland didn’t seem to mind their presence; she acknowledged them as examples of the Team Canada approach Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was taking to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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