A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
Weathering the Storm Please keep all those dealing in the wake – and the path – of Hurricane Matthew in your thoughts and prayers this week.
Cut the Crosstalk! The first and only vice presidential debate was held Tuesday night in Virginia and by almost all accounts the night belonged to Republican Governor Mike Pence who was described as “calm,” “cool” and “likeable”. Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine spent most of the 90-minute sparring session interrupting Pence and according to many observers, was joined in the efforts by the debate moderator, Elaine Quijano, a CBS News anchor, who both interrupted Pence mid-answer and directed tough questions almost exclusively his way. Pundits say despite the win, VP debates do little to change the race dynamics which right now show Kaine’s ticket, headed by running mate Hillary Clinton, besting Trump-Pence in the majority of polls. Clinton and Donald Trump square off in their second debate this Sunday.
It’s in the E-mails Politico is reporting this week that in an effort to avoid “stuff” coming out “just before the election” that will “look really bad for Obama and Clinton” the Obama administration is dropping charges against the alleged arms dealers it had accused of selling weapons destined for the hands of Libyan rebels. According to Politico, the arms dealer had threatened to “expose Hillary Clinton’s talks about arming anti-Qadhafi rebels” and the Justice Department cut the deal to avert a trial that would “once again cast scrutiny on Clinton’s private emails and expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.”
And in more Clinton email news this week comes the revelation that the FBI’s unusual immunity deal with the Democratic presidential nominee’s two top aides included a side arrangement obliging the FBI to destroy their laptops after reviewing the devices. The FBI’s deal with Clinton’s top staffers also meant that investigators could not review the documents for the period after the email server became public — in turn preventing the bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice, according to published reports. The FBI had been probing Clinton’s use of a home rigged email server and private email to conduct all official business for the four years she served as Obama’s top diplomat. This summer the FBI director said Clinton was “extremely careless” and “negligent” in her handling of classified information. He declined to press a case against her because he said she didn’t intend to break the law.
Block Backed On Monday, the US Supreme Court denied the Obama administration’s request for a rehearing in the case of the president’s controversial executive order on immigration. The move leaves in place a block on Obama’s order that attempted to bypass Congress and unilaterally provide a shield for immigrants living and working in the country illegally. 26 states led by Texas filed suit arguing Obama did not have the authority to act without Congress. In June, a divided 4-4 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Texas left in place a lower court ruling that blocked the president’s action from going into effect. The focus now returns to the lower Texas court where the case remains, since the block against the actions was only a preliminary injunction.
The “Craziest Thing in the World!” Former president Bill Clinton called Obamacare "the craziest thing in the world” while campaigning for his wife Monday. Speaking at a Democrat rally in Flint, Michigan, Bill Clinton ripped President Obama’s signature health-reform law as a “crazy system” which hurts hardworking, middle-class American families who don’t qualify for subsidies. On Tuesday he walked back his remarks and praised the law but they come in the wake of Minnesota announcing that it will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 to as much as 67 percent next year. That decision was made after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, according to the state’s commerce commissioner. Across the US, just six of the original 23 Obamacare co-ops remain, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans scrambling for coverage. The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was passed in March 2010 on the strength of Democrat support alone. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are trying to prevent the Obama administration from using an obscure fund within the Treasury Department to pay out massive multi-billion dollar settlements to insurers who are suing over a shortfall in an Obamacare program that they say is damaging their businesses. Settling the cases could help insurers deal with losses on the Obamacare marketplaces, but Republicans argue the move would be a “bailout” that would circumvent the will of Congress. It’s not clear whether the Obama administration will actually pursue the settlements.
Tons of Travel
David Wilkins’ beloved South Carolina is under a hurricane watch right now, but your former US ambassador is far from the eye of the storm engaging in his own usual whirlwind of travel and meetings.
He hit the travel circuit Sunday flying up to Toronto where he spent the start of the week busy on the board of Mattamy Homes.
On Wednesday evening, it was great to catch up with friends from South Carolina with the Upstate SC Alliance trade mission in Toronto. Wilkins was honored to speak about the strength of our amazing Carolina-Canada economic connections to the high powered business crowd that included wonderful longtime pals Brendan Caldwell, Theo Caldwell and Theo’s beautiful bride Whitney Caldwell, as well as TD Bank’s Frank McKenna. It was also great to see Mattamy Homes’ Dave Williams and Brian Johnston, Resolute Forest Products’ Brad Martin, and Nelson Mullins’ own Jay Rogers.
Your former US ambassador talks Canada-Carolina economic connections – and a little politics! – Wednesday night in Toronto.
Brain trust! The Caldwell family makes it look easy being both super intelligent and really fun! Brendan Caldwell, David Wilkins, Theo and Whitney Caldwell.
From Toronto, Wilkins traveled onto Dallas for more meetings before he makes it back to stormy South Carolina tomorrow, in time, he hopes, to catch his Clemson Tigers on ESPN as they take on the Boston College Eagles playing up in Boston at 7:30 pm. (Editor’s note: Keep reading for more on that. All y’all knew it was coming…)
More Carolina-Canada Connections!
Last Friday, David Wilkins was in Greer, South Carolina where he was the guest of the Greer Development Corp. The dynamic business group in our state’s Upstate also hosted the wonderful Louise Blais, who heads the Canadian consulate office based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Here’s some of what Trevor Anderson had to say about it all in the October 1 edition of the Upstate Business Journal under the headline, Upstate business leaders look to strengthen ties with Canada:
A direct flight between Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and Canada is just one thing Upstate business leaders would like to see as they seek to strengthen ties with the country’s neighbor to the north.
Louise Blais, consul general of Canada, and David Wilkins, former U.S. ambassador to Canada, made a stop in Greer Friday for a luncheon at City Hall hosted by the Greer Development Corp., S.C. Ports Authority and GSP.
The leaders shed some light on the $6.5 billion annual trade relationship between Canada and South Carolina, which boasts 70 Canadian companies with about 8,000 employees, Wilkins said.
“The world is becoming more competitive, particularly with Europe and Asia on the rise,” he said. “If we don’t have our own North American story right, we could lose out on some opportunities.”
According to data presented at the meeting, trade and investment with Canada supports 165,300 jobs in the Palmetto State.
Canada is South Carolina’s third-largest export market, worth $3.7 billion in 2015…
“I want Canada to reinvigorate its relationship with the U.S.,” Blais said. “We can take each other for granted. That relationship, as wonderful as it is, still needs to be nurtured.”
Blais said the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, has had a positive impact on Canada. She said the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP, growth has tripled since the agreement took effect in 1994.
She said after the presidential election in November, it will be important for both the U.S. and Canada to work together to face global economic challenges and to fight climate change.
“(The relationship between the U.S. and Canada) is good, but it can still grow…”
Wilkins in Washington
And of course, Wilkins always finds himself in Washington at some point during most weeks. He was there for a number of meetings last week and we even have this snap below to prove it:
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader, is shaking hands with former Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich. To the left of Ambassador Wilkins is former Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour, and next to him is Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senate Majority Whip.
Clemson Is Cookin’, Baby!
So you may have heard that once again, Wilkins’ favorite football team, the Clemson University Tigers, are on the hunt for a national title. (Editor’s note: You also may remember, because devoted CCC readers may have seen it here once or twice (read: ad nauseam) last year that the Tigers fell just short of that goal when they lost a heartbreaker to Alabama, but, whatever, that was so January 2016 – we’re all about the future.)
Anyway, the Tigers are back at it, 5-0 on this season, and ranked #3 in the country this week after winning a thrilling (read: excruciatingly agonizing and infuriating (specifically 3rd quarter) but ultimately satisfying) game against powerhouse Louisville and its Heisman trophy contender QB Lamar Jackson.
All in at Tigertown! US Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Clemson President Jim Clements, Clemson Board Trustee Louis Lynn, and Ambassador Wilkins before last week’s wild ride and big win against Louisville.
As mentioned, the Tigers play a rare Friday night game tomorrow against the Eagles of Boston College and it’s pretty special as it’s the third annual “Red Bandana” game – where Boston College recognizes former lacrosse player Welles Crowther, who was credited with saving a dozen lives in the 9/11 terror attacks.
They Said What?
- “We have to be prepared to be hit by a catastrophic hurricane,” – Florida Governor Rick Scott warning Floridians Wednesday morning that Hurricane Matthew is a clear and present danger.
- "So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world,” – Former President Bill Clinton on Obamacare at a Democrat rally Monday.
- "One of the things we built into the law was various ways of providing risk corridors and risk adjustment, so insurers would be protected against getting too many sick people, which is the heart of the problem. Marco Rubio, in the Senate, took that away and destabilized the market. When I told you two years ago it was going to be a stable market, those risk protections were in place. And the Republicans took it away... Republicans bear a major responsibility!” -- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of Obamacare, on Fox News last night, defending the president’s healthcare reform law.
- "If your son or my son handled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did, they'd be court-martialed,"—Indiana Governor Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate Tuesday. (Editor’s note: The sons of both VP candidates are United States Marines.)
- "If he's Superman, we're going to be the kryptonite,” – Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney on how his Tigers planned to shut down superstar Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson last Saturday.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.