Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins

Opinion: Prime Minister negatively affected Canada in NAFTA deal

MP Blaine Calkins challenges Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s NAFTA negotiations

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins

Recently, the United States and Mexico announced that they have reached a preliminary agreement on a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that includes rules of origin for automobiles.

While the president of Mexico expressed his hope that Canada would now rejoin the final stage of negotiations it is unclear whether Canada will simply be forced to accept any final agreement. The president of the United States claimed the NAFTA would be renamed the United States – Mexico Trade Agreement and that while negotiations with Canada would restart shortly he raised the prospect of introducing automobile tariffs against Canada in the short term.

It is concerning to me and it should be concerning to all Canadians that Justin Trudeau and his team were left out of the NAFTA negotiations over the last month as the United States and Mexico entered final rounds of negotiations on key elements of the trade deal.

Why was Canada excluded from negotiations and what can this possibly mean for Canadian jobs and the Canadian economy?

Clearly it was a sign that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have not been good faith partners in the negotiations.

When Conservatives formed government, we made it a priority to promote trade and open new markets for Canadian businesses. In doing so we were able to more than triple the number of countries we had free trade agreements with from four to 44, including landmark free trade agreements with South Korea and the European Union.

A Conservative Government under the leadership of Andrew Scheer still believes in making trade a priority for our country. In fact, for over a year the Conservatives have repeatedly offered suggestions with respect to the NAFTA discussions and have even offered to be part of bi-partisan efforts with respect to outreach in Washington, only to be ignored on every occasion. In addition to this, the leader of Canada’s Conservatives has been in discussions with the UK and India and has made significant progress to improve Canada’s trade relations.

Sadly, Trudeau has shamed us with his stunt at the TPP ratification ceremony, was shut out on his last trip to China (his governing soulmate country) and is now fumbling with the most important trade relationship we have, the USA.

The government he leads can never seem to get the important stuff right.

The mismanagement of this file could prove disastrous. Justin Trudeau owes it to Canadians to explain why both Mexico and the United States decided that talks would proceed without Canada. This process started out as a three-way negotiation that has ended up with Canada on the outside and it’s getting mighty cold out there.

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