Here’s what would happen if Trump put a tariff on Canada’s auto industry

Yesterday I asked Manny Montenegrino, our in-house NAFTA negotiations commentator, what he thought would happen if the NAFTA negotiations fail.

Let’s start with what experts have already said in public. They are testing Trump’s main threat — of putting a 20 per cent tariff on Canadian-made cars.

Scotiabank says it would the worst recession in Canada in a decade. Plus:

“Significant job losses also result, with roughly 160,000 net positions shed, relative to status quo. Almost all of these losses would occur in Ontario.”

So let get down to predictions:

I think Trump will just let NAFTA expire.

I think that’s what Chrystia Freeland and Justin Trudeau are on track to do, too.

I don’t think Trump would attack Canada with a tariff out of the blue. Maybe he’ll wait for a moment where he wants something from Canada. And Trudeau won’t take the call, or Trudeau will insult him. And Trump will slap back with tariffs.

The immediate reaction in Canada will be rage and fury at the evil Trump.

I think you’ll see violence. I know that sounds nuts, but you will.

I think the Canadian stock market will be slaughtered. And the Canadian dollar.

Imagine how real estate prices will fall, especially in Toronto.

The Media Party will be unanimous:

It’s Trump’s fault! Trudeau’s the hero who fought bravely for Canada! He protected us! Or at least, he protected Quebec’s few thousand dairy farmers, and he protected the CBC.

But 160,000 auto workers? And anyone whose retirement savings are now worthless?

I don’t want any of this, by the way.

But Trudeau doesn’t want a deal. He wants a hateable enemy.

And Trump wants his factories.