USMexico NAFTA talks minus Canada feds insist theyre encouraged

OTTAWA — Canada’s continental partners are simply trying to work through difficult bilateral sticking points on NAFTA, federal insiders insist, even as the Canadian government appears to have been left out of ongoing talks between the United States and Mexico.A senior government official said Tuesday that the U.S. and Mexico’s return to the table to sort out their differences is a positive sign for the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement — even if Canada wasn’t invited to take part.Top Canadian negotiators are expected to rejoin NAFTA talks by mid-August although no meetings have been scheduled yet, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter in public.U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo will meet again this week in Washington to discuss NAFTA, according to media reports. They also met face to face last week.Trade talks between the two countries have intensified since the recent election win by Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has assigned his own experts to work with officials from the outgoing administration on pursuing an updated NAFTA before he takes office Dec. 1.American optimism about a new NAFTA deal has also been heating up. In recent days, the Trump administration has signalled an agreement could be reached on the pact by the end of August.So far, however, Canadian negotiators have yet to participate in the summertime, high-level push towards an update to the three-country deal.The Canadian official rejected the idea Ottawa has been frozen out of the talks and argued it’s not unusual for two of the NAFTA partners to hold discussions on bilateral issues without the third partner in the room. They said Canada is confident NAFTA will remain a trilateral deal, even though U.S. Donald Trump has threatened in the past to ditch it for one-on-one trade agreements.The official also noted that the U.S. and Mexico have issues to figure out between themselves, such as their differences on labour changes in the auto sector, textiles and seasonal fruits.Another senior Canadian source said Tuesday they’re “not that fazed at all” by the U.S.-Mexican meetings on NAFTA.“I actually feel somewhat, cautiously encouraged by the fact that the Mexicans are able to be back at the table,” the government source said, also on condition of anonymity.“I think the fact they’re able to carve out some space to pick up on the conversation from where it was at, without knowing the outcomes, that at least in and of itself isn’t a bad thing.”NAFTA’s renegotiation has mostly been stalled since May, when the three sides were unable to strike a deal before the Mexican presidential election campaign. Lopez Obrador won the July 1 vote.One of the Canadian officials said Ottawa has seen a meaningful change in approach from the U.S. on NAFTA — externally and internally — over the last seven days.On Monday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he thought there was a good chance American negotiators were on a “pretty rapid track” when it comes to NAFTA talks with Mexico, noting that Washington has fewer issues with Canada in the talks.“Mexico is, intellectually, the more complicated of the two; so if we can solve that, we should be able to fill in with Canada,” Ross said during an appearance at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Indo-Pacific Business Forum.His comments followed other optimistic remarks from senior Trump officials, including Lighthizer.Last week, he told a U.S. Senate panel that an updated NAFTA deal to be concluded by the end of August.“That’s not an unreasonable time frame if everybody wants to get it done,” Lighthizer said.“My hope is that we will before very long have a conclusion with respect to Mexico and that as a result of that, Canada will come in and begin to compromise. I don’t believe that they have compromised in the same way the United States or Mexico has.”Ahead of last week’s NAFTA talks between Lighthizer and Guajardo, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and International Trade Minister Jim Carr met with Lopez Obrador in Mexico City.Following the meeting, Freeland said she was hopeful NAFTA negotiations could hit a higher gear.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter— with a file from Jordan Press read more

Albert Dryden who shot council officer dead over planning row dies a

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Alex Watson, a lifelong friend of Dryden and now an Independent Durham County Councillor, describes the case as “tragic” as Dryden and Collinson had known each other well.Watson claims that the murder “should have been prevented – the media and the police were there,” and that the police were aware of Dryden’s history of collecting weapons. Albert Dryden, who shot dead planning officer Harry Collinson in direct view of TV cameras, has died aged 77 following his release from prison just last year.Dryden became infamous in 1991 when he shot dead planning officer and father-of-two Harry Collinson in County Durham, in a desperate bid to protect his illegally built bungalow from being demolished.Albert Dryden pulled out a First World War revolver and used it to fire at Harry Collinson, as Harry and his team pressed to demolish the bungalow in front of TV crew and news journalists.The murder was captured by BBC camera crew and Derwentside District Council photographers.Video footage shows Mr Collison requesting for the cameraman to document Albert Dryden’s gun. Dryden then proceeds to shoot Harry Collinson in the chest, before climbing a fence and firing another 5 shots at Harry and the countless planning officers, council members and journalists at the scene. Albert was convicted of murder and the attempted murder of a solicitor, alongside being charged for wounding a police officer and BBC journalist Tony Belmont. He was handed a life sentence in 1992, despite claiming that he was mentally unstable and was not responsible for his actions. Albert Dryden gunned down Derwentside Council planning officer Harry Collinson in Butsfield, County Durham, in June 1991 Albert Dryden gunned down Derwentside Council planning officer Harry Collinson in Butsfield, County Durham, in June 1991 An armed police officer and a bomb disposal officer at Albert Dryden’s houseCredit:REX/Shutterstock An armed police officer and a bomb disposal officer at Albert Dryden's house Having visited Dryden several times in prison, Watson says he believes that Dryden felt deep remorse for the killing, and had suffered greatly during his time in prison.However, the brother of Harry Collinson claims that “Not once did he [Albert Dryden] show any remorse, culpability, or regret for what he had done.”Mr Collison recalled having received four letters from Dryden during his time in prison, yet described all received correspondence as “ravings of a madman.”Asked whether Dryden’s death would bring comfort to his family, Mr Collinson commented that “It’s over”, but “Good riddance to the man.” Dryden was released from prison last year by the Parole Board on “compassionate grounds”, having suffered a stroke, and has now died aged 77 in a care home. read more