With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau increasingly upbeat over the success of a renegotiated NAFTA, Canada has doubled or tripled its hospitality budget at key Canadian embassies and consulates. This increase in spending could be seen as an attempt to gain American favorability.
As the National Post reports Friday, the wining and dining at the Canadian Embassy in Washington alone in 2017 went from $135,000 the year before to $274,00o. Hospitality events in New York City skyrocketed during the same period from $67,000 to $170,000. The party continues in Los Angeles, where the consulate there spent almost $100,000 on things like Grammy soirées. Overall, Global Affairs Canada allocated more than $11.4 million from Nov. 2015 to Nov. 2017 in an attempt to keep its American neighbors happy.
The hospitality offensive is not just limited to diplomats or senior officials in the administration of President Donald Trump. Canada is entertaining just about anyone who might have an influence on the NAFTA talks: cabinet members, congressional leaders and a variety of business people who are directly or indirectly affected by free trade with Canada.
The documentation reveal figures for the last two years of the previous Stephen Harper Conservative government and the first two years of spending under Trudeau.
But while the current Liberal government has a party-time policy in the U.S., the free-spending has not migrated further south — to that other NAFTA partner, Mexico, where Canada has been positively frugal. Before the current renegotiation talk began last summer, the Canadian Embassy hosted a June get acquainted party in Mexico City, for a total cost of $1,600. Since then, the flow of wine has ebbed and the dining room is not operating at full capacity.