David MacNaughton in conversation with Paul Wells: Maclean's Live - Macleans.ca

David MacNaughton in conversation with Paul Wells: Maclean’s Live

Canada’s ambassador to the United States sits down for a candid chat with one of Canada’s best political analysts

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Two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, Canada’s man in Washington, David MacNaughton, sits down for a live interview with Maclean’s senior writer Paul Wells at the recently renovated National Arts Centre in Ottawa. This conversation marks the launch of our second season of Maclean’s Live, presented by the Canadian Bankers Association in partnership with the NAC and CPAC. Watch their conversation right here. Tweet along with the hashtag #MacleansLive, and follow our liveblog below for all the highlights. CPAC will broadcast the conversation at a later date. Also! Sign up for our daily politics newsletter, a morning must-read in the nation’s capital.

Why are we doing this, anyway?

David MacNaughton was posted to Canada’s embassy in Washington when the spirit of bromance was in the air. Only a week after he took up the job as ambassador, Barack Obama hosted Justin Trudeau and a bevy of Canadians at a White House state dinner. The mood, and broader cross-border relationship, soon changed. When Trump pledged to modernize—and threatened to rip up—NAFTA, MacNaughton quarterbacked an aggressive lobbying campaign to save the trade deal. It worked, sort of. The three partners agreed on a new NAFTA, but now some U.S. lawmakers are refusing to ratify the deal unless the White House drops tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Others have lingering concerns about Mexican labour and environmental standards. MacNaughton has built an impressive network of allies in D.C., but he can’t take any diplomatic coup for granted—not in Trumpland.

This is the first Maclean’s Live event of 2019, and the tenth conversation Wells has conducted with leading Canadian political figures. Last December, he sat down with former prime minister Jean Chrétien. On Nov. 28, he sat down with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. In October, he chatted with renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. In September, he sat down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In June, he sat down with Jane Philpott, minister of Indigenous services. In May, he sat down with Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party. In April, he sat down with Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In March, he sat down with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. And in February, he sat down with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Watch those conversations below.

WATCH: Jean Chrétien in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Rachel Notley in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Edward Burtynsky in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Justin Trudeau in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Jane Philpott in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Jason Kenney in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Katie Telford in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Andrew Scheer in conversation with Paul Wells

WATCH: Jagmeet Singh in conversation with Paul Wells