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Will Canadian CEOs send a message to Trump by leaving this business advisory council?

Linamar Corp. CEO Linda Hasenfratz

U.S. President Donald Trump has ended two of his business advisory groups – the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum – after numerous CEOs resigned from them in protest, but questions remain about the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.

Bloomberg reports, “Only a day after President Donald Trump labeled as ‘grandstanders’ the growing number of CEOs quitting his business council to protest his response to a white-supremacist rally that turned violent, the president abolished the advisory groups rather than put pressure on executives to stay.”

The CEO of Merck & Co. (a transnational pharmaceutical corporation) was first to resign. Then the CEO of BlackRock Inc. (a global investment corporation) resigned. The Bloomberg article notes, “In a memo sent to BlackRock employees and provided to Bloomberg Wednesday, [CEO Larry] Fink said that the violence, racism and antisemitism in Virginia had to be criticized without caveats.”

The CEOs of Under Armour Inc. (a clothing and footwear company), Intel Corp. (a transnational technology corporation), 3M (a transnational conglomerate) and Campbell Soup (the canned soup company) also quit Trump’s councils before he ended them. The CEOs of WalMart and Johnson & Johnson decided to remain with the now disbanded councils.

But what about Trump’s council for women entrepreneurs?

On February 13, Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders to provide advice and recommendations to them.

The Trump administration has promoted the council on the White House website, encouraging people to sign an online petition to “Stand with President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau to support empowering female leaders.” Trump even highlighted the council in his first State of the Union address to Congress in late February.

At that time, the Canadian Press reported, “The council will be made up of 10 female executives — half from Canadian companies and the other half from American companies. The Canadian members include CEOs Annette Verschuren, of NRStor Inc., Dawn Farrell of TransAlta Corp., Linda Hasenfratz of Linamar Corp. and Tina Lee of T&T Supermarket Inc., as well as Monique Leroux, chair of the board of directors from Investissement Quebec, are also around the table.”

Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford came up with the idea of the council (as a way to build a relationship with the Trump administration in advance of the NAFTA renegotiation) and pitched it to Jared Kushner (Trump’s senior adviser and Ivanka Trump’s husband) who reportedly immediately backed the idea.

Not long after the launch of the roundtable, The Guardian reported on how Ivanka Trump’s factories violate women’s rights: “The reality of working in a factory making clothes for Ivanka Trump’s label has been laid bare, with employees speaking of being paid so little they cannot live with their children, anti-union intimidation and women being offered a bonus if they don’t take time off while menstruating.”

Will Hasenfratz and Verschuren (who are also members of Trudeau’s NAFTA renegotiation advisory council) and the other Canadian CEOs stand with the CEOs of Merck & Co., BlackRock Inc., Under Armour Inc., Intel Corp., 3M and Campbell Soup and quit this council to send a very clear message to Trump that violence, racism and antisemitism must be criticized and denounced without caveats?