Canada prepared to play deadline spoiler in NAFTA talks: source

In the face of mounting pressure to wrap up NAFTA negotiations by the end of the month, a senior source suggests Canada is comfortable with missing that deadline.

The source who spoke to CBC News on background, due to the sensitivity of the talks, said the external political pressure "is not a good enough reason," for Canada to be forced into a fast finish.

Mexican negotiators are pushing for an agreement to be formally signed by the leaders of all three countries before Dec.1, the day Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes office. 

If outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto signs the agreement, it will, among other things, give AMLO some domestic political cover for unpopular aspects of the pact...

The source said Canada is willing to try to accommodate the timeline, but is prepared to keep talking past the end of this month.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to morph NAFTA into a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, if Canada is unwilling to sign on to a deal on his terms...

Despite the threats of leaving Canada behind, there are significant questions about whether NAFTA can even be changed into a bilateral agreement.

U.S. members of congress granted the Trump administration the authority to re-negotiate a trilateral agreement, and it is unclear whether the White House has the power to turn NAFTA into a two-way pact.

Members of congress from both parties have also said they would not support a new NAFTA without Canada's inclusion...

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to return to Washington sometime next week for more high level negotiations with her U.S. counterparts.

A second source tells CBC News there is still a lot of technical work that negotiators need to grind through, adding talks are "slow."

This was excerpted from 14 September 2018 edition of the CBC News.