Canada Sitting on the Sidelines

Hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs rely on international trade – and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a critically important component of that trade. In fact, 1-in-5 Canadian jobs are created as a result of free trade agreements.
But sadly, Canada is sitting on the sidelines while Mexico and the United States are busy renegotiating terms of the agreement. Recent reports state that it could be weeks before Canada is invited to the bargaining table.
It has been clear from day one that Justin Trudeau is out of his depth when it comes to international trade. The Prime Minister’s failed economic approach has left us weak and vulnerable to tariff action.
In recent months, President Trump announced new tariffs on Canada’s steel and aluminum industries and has threatened further tariffs on our auto sector. But the threat of American tariffs was certainly not a surprise. It had been looming for over a year, causing massive uncertainty and a turbulent investment climate.
Unfortunately for Canadians, instead of putting forward a concrete plan to deal with U.S. protectionism, Justin Trudeau failed to provide any measures in his last budget that would prepare Canadian industries for this possibility. And now, as a result of the U.S. tariffs, Canadian steel and aluminum companies are having to increase the prices of their products and are beginning to lay off workers.
Justin Trudeau’s failure to secure a deal on NAFTA—and the resulting tariffs—can largely be blamed on his insistence on including, and prioritizing, chapters on climate, indigenous and gender issues as a part of the deal. While these are important issues they do not belong in a trade negotiation. In addition, his refusal to compete for and attract international investment through lower taxes and less regulation means Canada is losing opportunities to strengthen and diversify its economy.
Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives understand why Canadians are deeply concerned with the NAFTA renegotiations. We know that thousands of jobs are on the line and livelihoods are at stake. We know that Canada simply cannot afford a trade war with the United States.
As Conservatives, we will always defend Canadian jobs and we will continue to hold Justin Trudeau’s feet to the fire on trade issues.