To hear Pierre Alarie tell it, Mexico and Canada are like two weary travellers seeking shelter from the same storm — the fierce bluster from Donald Trump’s frequent criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The two nations will be better able to withstand that storm if they stand together, the Canadian ambassador to Mexico declared last month during a speech to a business gathering in that country’s capital city.

Alarie’s message, Mexican and Canadian officials say, reflects a deep level of co-operation between the two countries — something that, given the challenging three-way dynamics of North American politics, hasn’t always been the case in the past.

It may not be the case in the future, either.

If push comes to shove, some observers warn, Canada will have to jettison Mexico and pursue its own bilateral side deal with the U.S. if the NAFTA talks degenerate.

A strong, newly negotiated three-way NAFTA is the goal, said Maryscott Greenwood, head of the Canadian American Business Council. But strained relations between Trump and Mexico could well make that difficult, she acknowledged.

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