Thursday, July 06, 2017

Omar Khadr

With the news that the Omar Khadr legal settlement has been enforced the Conservatives and their supporters have worked themselves into quite a lather. 

Naturally, they are blaming Prime Minister Trudeau for this but they seem to forget that the framework for this settlement was hammered out and agreed upon by government lawyers and Mr. Khadr's attorneys in the last year of the Harper government.  If Mr. Harper would have won the last election it would have been his government that would have had to implement the agreed upon settlement.  I am certain that the Conservatives not mentioning this fact is just an oversight and that they are not trying to spin this situation in the worst possible way in order to attempt to take political advantage.  

Taking the politics out of the situation we need to look at why a legal settlement was needed to begin with.  Generally speaking when the defence in a civil legal process decides to settle it usually means that they do not believe that they can win if the case goes to trial.  The settlement is a way to mitigate any damage of a loss by limiting any payout and there is usually a stipulation in any settlement agreement that they are not admitting to any wrong doing.

So why would the Candian government need to agree to a settlement?

Omar Khadr is accused of killing an American soldier when he was 15 years old.  When he was captured by Canadian soldiers he was handed over to the Americans who incarcerated him in their prison in Guantanamo Bay.

After many years they finally released him, he returned to Canada and he proceeded to sue the government of Canada.  Did he have a case?

Well, there are several UN resolutions and other international protocols, of which Canada is a signatory, which states that child soldiers generally get involved with wars as a result of brainwashing, drugs given to them by those who would have them fight or straight up coersion.  As a result, these same international agreements indicate that in most cases child soldiers are not to be held responsible for the action they are forced to take.  Instead they are to be rescued from their situation and measures are to be taken to rehabilitate them and reintegrate these children back into the respective societies.  Of course this did not happen.

None of the international agreements on child soldiers are treaties or international laws. They are really just statements of good intent.  So, if Canada did not want to follow them in this case they could have made a good argument as to why.

However, that would leave them with two other options.  Treat the 15 year old Mr. Khadr as a regular soldier or treat him as a terrorist, which means treat him as a criminal.

For both choices Canada would have been compelled to treat Mr. Khadr much differently than he was actually treated.  

If Mr. Khadr was treated as a soldier then, after his capture, he would have had the right of the protection of the Geneva Conventions.  This is a treaty on how countries are to conduct war, including the treatment of prisoners of war and Canada is a signatory to that treaty.  It is stated in the Conventions that the torture of prisoners of war is forbidded.  It is also stated that if a country wishes to hand over a prisoner of war to a third country they must be certain that the third country will follow the Conventions.  At the time of Mr. Khadr's capture there was already some evidence that prisoners being held in Guantanamo were not being treated according to the Conventions.  That should have prevented Canada from handing Mr. Khadr over to the Americans.  It did not and Mr. Khadr was sent to Guantanamo Bay where he was probably tortured.  

If Mr. Khadr would have been treated like a criminal then he should have been repatriated to Canada and forced to face the criminal justice system here, which amongst other things, includes the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law.

Considering all of that Mr. Khadr's lawyers probably believed that they had a strong case that the Canadian government violated international and domestic laws.  Shamefully, they may be right.

Many argue that Mr. Khadr was a terrorist and terrorists should not enjoy the same rights as the rest of us.  The problem I have with that argument, and that I have always had with that argument, is that if you allow governments to deny basic human and legal rights for some where do you draw the line?  Not everybody has the same definition of terrorist so the line becomes rather fuzzy.  As an illustrative aside I was looking at an American news aggregation site a few days ago and there was story in their that some elements of the Trump Administration would like to define some environmental advocacy groups in the US as terrorist organizations.

In general I find the reaction to terrorism to be an over reaction.  

For over 40 years the West was threatened by the Soviet Union and its vassal states.  They had millions of men under arms, sitting on the border of Western Europe, and they had thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at us.  The Soviet Union was a politically powerful state and it and its Communist ideals were an existential threat to our way of life.  What was our reaction?  We strengthed our democracies.  We made our democratic institutions more robust.  Any politician who would have suggested otherwise would have been lynched (politically speaking of course).

Some of the more liberal estimates of the number of terrorists out there is 100,000, if you are only counting the Muslim terrorists.  That is 100,000 out of over a billion.  They have no major government that supports them, they have no heavy weapons and they can barely move from their places of origin.  Crucially, they have absolutely no political power.  Indeed that is why the resort to terrorism to begin with.  They are not an existential threat to our way of life.  They can kill a few of us but they cannot bring down our democratic institutions or our society.

What is our reaction to them?

A large portion of the populations of the western democracy have collectively and figuratively wet their pants and they are demanding actions from their governments to protect them. Governments, which in the history of civilization have never given up an opportunity to grab more power for themselves, have been happy to oblige with increasingly draconian laws which erode our basic and legal rights.  

It is ironic that the Soviet Union could not convince us to give up our rights and freedoms despite 40+ plus years of effort to do so.  However, the actions of a relative handful of religious extremists, in less than half of that time, have some parts of our society demanding that the government take those rights and freedoms away from us because they see terrorists under their pillow.

Fortunately, our democratic institutions are much stronger than that and the Omar Khadr settlement has managed to demonstrate that nicely.

One final note, I read today that the family of the soldier that was said to be killed by Omar Khadr is looking at going after some of the money that he won in his settlement.  That is interesting.  The only way they will be able to do that would be to launch a wrongful death lawsuit against Mr. Khadr in a court of law.  It is another irony in all of this that Mr.Khadr might be forced to finally defend himself and his alleged actions in a court of law, not because any government is making it happen, but because the family of his alleged victim might make it happen.  Mr. Khadr might have come full circle.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

By-election are meaningless

I generally avoid reading political pundits now a days.  I find their arguments to be vacuous and superficial.  There is not a single one of them who actually adds anything useful to any political argument.

However, I happened to glance at a news aggragator site today and there was a story indicating that the reduction in the level of Liberal support was not all Justin Trudeau's fault.

Upon closer inspection the column was essentially arguing that the big defeats in Calgary and the fact their victories in Ontario and Quebec were only by 25 point margins instead of 30+ points seemed to indicate that the Liberals had cause for concern.

When I read that I began to wonder if pot had been legalized and I had just missed that fact.

The two Calgary ridings were held by Jason Kenney and Stephen Harper.  I cannot think of two more rock steady Conservative ridings in Canada.  The Conservatives could have run a pair of chimps as candidates and they still would have taken those ridings in a walk.

As for the other three, the margins of victory by the Liberals was impressive by any measure.  The fact that those margins did not hit some arbitrary level set by an individual columnist proves nothing.

Bottom line, the Liberal seats stayed Liberal and the Conservative seats stayed Conservative.  That is the only real story here.  Any speculation on what these results mean to the bigger picture is just a columnist attemping to justify their job.

You would think that winning the last election would instill some confidence into Liberals

I had a discussion with a Liberal partisan last weekend and he was very concerned that Kevin O'Leary would be able to defeat the Trudeau Liberals.

The argument went pretty much like this.  Donald Trump demonstrated that pursuing a campaign of overt bigotedness while claiming to be someone that can "clean up Ottawa" can lead to success and Mr. O'Leary only needs to follow the same approach to win in Canada.

Where to begin?

First, this is not the United States.  Although racial and religious tensions are not unheard of here they are not nearly as intense as they are in the US.  Pursuing an overtly racist election campaign will not go nearly as well for anybody that would like to pursue such a strategy as it did for Mr. Trump.  The Conservatives already tried a more circumspect racist election campaign in 2015 and they lost the election and all of the work and effort put in by Jason Kenney to reach out to immigrant groups was turned to ash.  

Second, the political situation is different.  Donald Trump was running against a woman who was looking to replace a two term black president.  Anybody that does not believe those two facts were great contributors to Mr. Trump's victory are not paying attention.  The desire for change in the US was quite high and Ms. Clinton was not the change many key American demographics were looking for.  Further, the US has a two party political system.  Contrast that to Canada where the next election will be fought by a one term government lead by someone who most people actually like.  As well, the multiple parties and the riding system used for our elections would make any overtly racist election strategy counterproductive. Many people who would be turned off by such a strategy live exactly where the Conservatives will need to pick up support if they are to win, namely the major cities and their suburbs.

Third, language trumps all other issues in Quebec.  The argument from my friend was Mr. O'Leary could use the racist strategy to convince Quebecers to vote for him.  Leaving aside the assumption that Quebecers would be convinced by that strategy after they turfed out a PQ government that pursued the Quebec Values Charter, Mr. O'Leary is a unilingual anglophone and that will be the only thing Quebecers would care about in any election.  I cannot think of a bigger gift in Quebec, for the Liberals, than Mr. O'Leary campaigning in Quebec in English only.  The Conservative vote would collapse and with the most likely leader of the NDP probably being from somewhere else but Quebec there is not many places where Quebecers will be able to put their votes.  This kind of scenario presents the opportunity for the Liberals to win as many seats in Quebec as PM Trudeau's father did.

Fourth, equalization payments are sacrosanct in many provinces.  Mr. O'Leary has argued for the reduction of these payments to the provinces and he has actually stated that he would attempt to do just that.  What he is proposing is unconstitutional but from a political standpoint promising to carry through on such a proposal would be political suicide in the four Eastern Provinces, along with Manitoba and BC.  And let's not forget that these payments are rather popular in Quebec as well.

Fifth, with the exception of the Senate there is not a grand desire to "clean up Ottawa" extant amongst the electorate.  Canadians are generally happy with their government and a Trumpian promise the "drain the swamp" would not resonate nearly as much here as it did in the US.

Finally, when the next election rolls around Canadians will have been witness to a years long shit show that the Trump presidency has become.  Canadians being generally sensible and wise people will want to avoid such a situation up here.

I do not believe that Mr. O'Leary will even carry the Conservative Party.  However, if he were to pull off such a feat I believe that he would be a great gift to the Liberal Party and he would increase their already great chances of winning the next election.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Everybody Just Needs to Chill

Donald Trump has been President of the United States for less than two weeks and many people seem to be coming unhinged by this fact.  The rhetoric that is flying fast and loose out there is outrageous and overblown.

"He is going to get us into a nuclear war"  they say.

"He and his supporters are facsists using the techniques of Adolf Hitler to undermine democracy" they cry.

"The Republicans hold all three branches of the American government and they will use that to undo decades of progress" they howl.

While I agree that Donald Trump is a rube, a boor, a misogynistic racist and that he is probably wholly unqualified for the office he holds his ability to cause real trouble is very limited.

First, he is unlikely to cause a nuclear war because the United States has a MASSIVE military bureaucracy which will prevent him from doing so.  They are hardwired to not enter the US into wars that could lead to an attack on the continental US, such as going to war with another nuclear power, and they are a little gun shy after their latest wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.  Mr. Trump may be able to convince his military to take military action against Iran but that is probably it and anything they do will be designed to satisfy him without endangering too many Americans.  It goes without saying that the only thing such an attack will do is convince the Iranians to build nuclear bombs and to seek an alliance with China.

Second, many point to his tactics for getting elected, such as vilifying the media, blaming foreigners for America's troubles and even bastardizing an old Nazi slogan with the "Let's make American great" slogan.  Many pointed out that Adolf Hitler was elected and then used the power of government to take complete control of that government and they fear the same will happen in the US.

The problem with that is Adolf Hitler won the election to the government of the Weimar Republic, in 1933, a country that had absolutely no democratic tradition and whose democratic institutions had been established in 1919.  To compare Donald Trumps election to the White House to Adolf Hitler's election as Chancellor of Weimar Germany is to compare apples to elephants.

Further, the greatest fear of the writers of the US Constitution was that one of their number would use the Presidency to set themselves up as a King so they created a system of government that makes any kind of change to that system virtually impossible.  In fact, as powers of political leaders go the powers of the President of the United States are weak compared to many of the other leaders of democratic governments around the world. Indeed, if Prime Minister Trudeau was bent on really rocking the boat and making wholesale changes to Canada and its society he would have much more power to do so than the President would have to do the same in the US.

That has just been demonstrated by the fact that a federal judge in New York just stayed his Executive Order stopping immigration from the countries he selected.  He signed the order on Friday and before the weekend was out it was deemed invalid and illegal and is not to be enforced.  I am certain that this is not over yet but this demonstrates that Donald Trump will not be able to run roughshod over America's democratic values and institutions.

Third, the Republicans now hold both chambers of Congress but all of the Members of the House of Representatives and more than a third of the Members of the Senate face an election in 22 months.  In reality that means they need to be in full re-election mode in about 14 months.  If Donald Trump is really proven to be incompetent, as many expect, and he does not have the political smarts to curb his baser instincts, the path to re-election for these members of Congress will be the one that takes them as far away from Donald Trump and his actions/policies as possible.  That will essentially neutralize his Presidency.

Further, the major changes the most ardent Tea Partiers want to make will be very difficult to pull off from a political point of view.  We are seeing that with the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare.  Many Republicans in Congress have Obama derangement syndrome and are therefore bound and determined to remove anything associated with him. Unfortunately, many traditional Republican voters find themselves with much better medical insurance coverage, at a cheaper price, than before Obamacare.  Taking that away from them could have very negative effects on Republican legislative representatives' election chances in a couple of years.  The solution of course will be to replace Obamacare with Obamacare, only it will have a different name.  The change will be cosmetic and symbolic and nothing more.  

The job of an elected politician is to be re-elected.  Republicans will push their agenda to be certain but their desire to be re-elected will temper that effort to a very great extent.  

The election of Donald Trump is unfortunate.  At least that is my opinion.  However, it is not the end of the world.  His ability to cause real trouble is limited by the system he needs to operate in and he has no ability to change that system.  

So everybody needs to step back and take a breath.  Vigilance is definitely warranted but I would say that about all of the leaders we entrust our governments to.  As well, those who oppose him have to be ready to push back against this policies and actions,  But again, the same would be true if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would have won the White House.

In other words, it is really just more of the same and nothing more.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Technology Revolution

Back around the end of the 17th century the world of economics began to change.  At first it was slow but then it really took off with the invention of the steam engine.  By the middle of the 18th century thinkers actually began to give it a name, capitalism, and historians have come to name that whole era as the "Industrial Revolution".

Like all revolutions it brought great change and great upheaval.  That upheaval really took off in 1848, when virtually the whole of continental Europe erupted in political revolution, which resulted in changes in how Europe's governments rules their citizens and introduced the world to what was considered a viable alternative to capitalism.  The revolution and the resulting upheaval continued for 70 years finally culminating in the creation of totalitarian governments in Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia.

Ironically it took a devestating world war to bring a period of relative normalcy to the world, sweeping out most of the totalitarian regimes with the big exception of the Soviet Union and its vassal states.

That normalcy lasted for about four decades until the first rumblings of the next revolution began.  We call those first rumblings "Globalization" and that revolution has continued and morphed into a "Technology Revolution".  

For now that Revolution has been largely positive.  Our access to devices and technology makes most of our lives easier.  However, the flip side of that Revolution is the impact it appears it will have on the very concept of employment.  I have read a fair amount about how technology will change the way we work and live and even the most conservative estimate of the impact of the Technology Revolution states that at least half of all of the current jobs on the planet will be lost to technology by 2050, and the greatest impacts will actually be felt in the industrial countries where technology can be put to the greatest use. So Canada and the other G20 countries can expect to see a disportionate number of jobs being replaced by technology, including recently industrialized countries like China, India and Brazil.  Less conservative estimates put the job losses at around two-thirds of the current jobs.

These same studies indicate that most of these jobs will not be replaced with as many new jobs as those lost and what jobs are created will not be of comparable incomes and benefits to the ones lost.

That is a recipe for potential disaster.  As jobs disappear and wages fall it is going to lead to a great deal of unrest amongst those who come out on the losing end of this trend.  That is going to result in change in how politics is done.  It still remains to be seen just how wide and deep that change will be but I think it is a certainty that we will see some profound changes in the politics of the rich nations of the world in the coming decades.  I am not just talking about changes in government.  The next few decades are going probably to test the resiliency of the Western democratic institutions like they have never been tested before.

After about 150 years the Industrial Revolution spawned the likes of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.  Along the way it created a whole new way of distributing wealth call capitalism and it created its alternative in communism.

Considering the speed in which our modern world progresses we probably will not have to wait that long for profound changes to occur during the Technology Revolution.  That revolution is only about 30 years old and it has already created Corporatism and its first "right wing" demogogues.  I suspect that the articulation of what will be considered a viable alternative to that economic system and the "left wing" demogogues who will rise up and attempt to use it to overthrow the current economic order are not that far into the future. 

All revolutions bring great change and the Technology Revolution will be no different.  Just like the economic and political world in 1950 was extremely different from the economic and political world of 1917 I imagine our world in 2050 will be completely different from the world of today.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hopelessly Out of Touch

I had occasion to read The Hill Times this week.  This is the first time I had read it in awhile. It was an older addition that was sitting on the table in the lunch room at work.

The top story was about how the Liberal promise of election reform has been essentially broken and how that fact would not hurt the Liberals, at least according to the polls.

Upon reading this the only thing that I thought about was of course it was not hurting the Liberals because the majority of Canadians really do not care how they elect their governments.  I mean, it is not like ordinary Canadians across the country are holding meetings to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the FPTP and PR.

This should be obvious to anybody who looks outside of the Ottawa bubble.  More than 30% of Canadians do not even bother to vote on a regular basis.  They do not care about voting let alone the voting method.  Of the remainder a very small percentage would care about that issue.  The rest are going to care about such meat and potato issues as "how safe is my job", "my 17 year old daughter wants to be a doctor, how am I going to pay for that", "my 80 year old mother needs full time care and her pensions barely cover that".

Unfortunately, the ruling elites (big business, big media, government bureaucrats and politicians) in the Western world have completely lost touch with the needs and wants of the people they rule.  That story in The Hill Times, the definitive publication for the Canadian ruling elites, demonstrated that in spades with that top story. 

A couple of years ago I would not have cared beyond just having a head shake moment upon reading that story.

Unfortunately this problem is becoming real with real consequences.  Histroy has demonstrated that when the ruling elites become completely disconnected from those that they rule society suffers, often leading to revolution, bloodshed and the rise of demogogues. Witness Brexit and Donald Trump.  As well, I would say that those events are probably just the beginning.

I would say that the solution to all of this is the elites need to find a way to reengage with those that they rule but history has also demonstrated that has never happened.  What has invariably happened throughout history is those elites are cast aside to be replaced by a different ruling elite in an invariably messy and highly disruptive process.

While I do not care one whit about the fate of the current elites I do care about the impact that the disruption caused by their replacement will have on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens of the West (of which I am one).  Fortunately, all of the Western countries are healthy and robust democracies so perhaps there is a chance that the disruptions caused by this change can be mitigated by that fact.


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Well, that was unexpected

So Donald Trump fooled all of the pollsters, pundits and prognosticators, including me.

I am certain that this election will be analyzed, examined, washed, dried and folded many time over the next few years so I will leave other people to it.

I would like to examine what we might expect from a Trump presidency.

First of all, there will be no wall between the US and Mexico.  Leaving aside the expense and the massive logicistical nightmare such a thing would create several of the southern states have economies that are addicted to the cheap labour provided by illegals that cross that border every day.  They would not tolerate that supply of cheap labour being cut off. Combine that with the fact that Latinos generally vote Democratic, Democratic Congressmen and Senators would combine with the Congressmen and Senators from the Southern States and California to block any funding for a wall.

The blue collar voters that handed the Presidency to Donald Trump are in for a big disappointment.  They have every right to be pissed off at the establishment it is just that they chose the wrong one.  They are not victims of an out of an touch Washington establishment they are victims of Globalization and the global establisment that created and sustains it.  That is not going away no matter what Donald Trump does so blue collar jobs will continue to flee the US in the coming years.

With regards to NAFTA it is probably pretty safe.   Donald Trump cannot reopen it for renegotiation without agreement from the other two signatories and considering his treatment of Mexico and Mexicans during the election the Mexican government will not agree to that.  He can unilaterally tear up the treaty but I believe there is a big enough pro-NAFTA lobby in Washington to prevent that from happening.  On the off chance that he does actually decide to tear it up and he succeeds I cannot say that I would be that upset. When I saw how the US completely ignored the decisions of the Trade Tribunals during the softwood lumber fiasco in the first year of the Harper government I concluded that the treaty is not really worth the paper it is printed on and that if the treaty did not exist trade between the US and Canada would not really be impacted.  Over a billion dollars worth of trade crosses that border every day.  Even Donald Trump would not do anything that would cause any kind of substative impact on that.

On the other hand the TPP is probably a dead duck.  I have mixed feelings about that deal so I cannot say that I would be very upset if it never sees the light of day.

Donald Trump made some noise about NATO but the military-industrial complex in the US dwarfs everything in that country so nothing much will change there.

Some have concerns about the Supreme Court of the US.  However, what these people seem to forget is the SCOTUS has had a conservative majority for the better part three decades.  Except for allowing ridiculously lax guns laws the SCOTUS has not really rocked the boat that much on social issues.  I think even the conservative members of the court realize that their job is to maintain the freedoms of Americans and not allow governments to step on said freedoms.  I am pretty certain that will not change.

Iran will be a nuclear power within the next decade.  I have no doubt that Donald Trump will listen to the ideologues that are informing his foreign policy positions and cancel the nuclear deal with Iran.  In addition those same ideologues believe that the US should attack Iran so that will probably happen as well.  It will be a low risk military campaign, to greatly reduce any chances of American casualties, that will not do much to Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons.  All it will probably do is convince the hardliners in Tehran that now is the time to take that next step to becoming a nuclear power and push Iran into the sphere of China.

ISIS and what it stands for will continue or at least something that looks like it.  If ISIS was easy to get rid of it would already be gone by now. 

What kind of President will Donald Trump be?  He is an asshole and I believe hugely unqualified to do the job but the job is now his.  He will either grow into it or he will not.  

What I do know, from observing politics for over 30 years, is he will not be a good as his supporters believe him to be and he will not be as bad as his detractors believe him to be. He rode to power on a wave of anger and those who voted for him will expect results. If he is unable to deliver that anger could very quickly turn on him.

One other thing I have noticed from observing politics for 30 years.  Things do not really change when a new leader of a country is chosen.  There are too many vested interests in government to allow some guy or gal, who is only there temporarily, to actually upset the applecart that much.  When all is said and done the United States will be in the exact same spot, as they were before last night, the next time Americans go to the polls.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Walloons have spoken

Last week a small region of Belgium, that European powerhouse, managed to effectively scupper the CETA.  It really is a sight to see.

The reaction from the movers and shakers on both sides of the Atlantic has been predictable.  I read one opinion piece stating that the very credibility of the EU is at stake and that they cannot be trusted any longer to negotiate any kind of deal.

Of course those who religiously support free trade have to blame the EU or the Walloons or Satan himself because to blame the concept of free trade itself would show an very big loss of faith.

What the supporters of free trade refuse to admit, even to themselves, is most of the Western democracies have seen free trade in action for almost four decades and an increasing number of those living in those democracies are not liking what they are seeing.  

The supporters of free trade have been exaggerating its benefits for decades, stating it would lower prices, create jobs and bring incalculable economic benefit to the economies involved in these free trade deals.  They admitted that there would be some losers but their numbers would be insignificant and goverments would be able to provide assistance to them to "adjust" to the free trade realities.

Of course none of this happened.  Prices still continue to rise, the number of good paying jobs that have fled from the rich western countries to the poor southern countries increases every year and the "adjustment" programs have been a token joke.  You see those who support free trade generally support smaller governments and reduced government spending so the promised adjustment programs never really amounted to much.

Further many are seeing threats in these free trade deals.  They are not just deals to allow the free flow of products and services between countries. There are clauses in them that would allow corporations to dictate policies that have been the perview of governments almost since governments existed, including, health, clean water, the environment, just to name a few.  Most citizens expect their governments to take care of these basic services and they are justified in being worried about any deal that might take away a government's ability to do so.

It should come as no surprise to free trade proponents that we are now seeing a backlash against free trade deals.  More and more people are saying enough.  The Walloons are just the latest.  Bernie Sanders was competitive in the Democratic primaries in the US while running on a platform that went completely against the free trade dogma.  He forced Hillary Clinton to step away from a full throated defence of the TPP.  As well, Donald Trump has promised to either scrap the NAFTA or renegotiate it, presumably to the point that it would be a free trade deal in name only.  Regardless of how the election turns out in the US I believe that there is more than a 50% chance that the TPP will die on the vine in the coming years. 

However, it is a surprise to them.  They just cannot see past their ideology to see that a growing number of people are not happy with the current situation.  So, they will keep pushing.  I suspect that the Walloons in particular and the Begian government in general will be brought onside with the CETA by means of the old carrot and stick approach.  

The free traders will win that battle but the cost will be high as the number of people who do not believe in free trade grows as a result and the opinions of those who already do not believe grows harder against free trade.  It is only a matter of time before that hits critical mass and some demogogue with more political smarts than Donald Trump comes along and galvanizes that critial mass into a true organized movement against free trade.

If free traders were not blinded by their ideology they would see the danger and take a break from pursuing more free trade deals to allow those opposed to catch up.  If they were also smart they would be supporting increased government spending on programs to assist those who have been losers as a result of free trade (and there are many).  Taking these two actions would go along way to countering the arguments of the anti-free traders.

However, free traders are neither smart nor open minded enough to do either of these actions so they will continue on the current path.  So, buckle up, the Walloons are just the beginning.  The backlash will continue and it will probably overwhelm the supporters of free trade soon enough.