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PM calls for rapid ratification of new NAFTA as opposition threatens to slow process

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to members of caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, January 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

Justin Trudeau is pleading with MPs to work quickly to ratify the USMCA


Prime minister told Liberal caucus Thursday millions of jobs are dependent on improving access to our trading partners


The Trudeau government is starting the legislative process to approve the deal once Parliament resumes on Monday


OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The prime minister is urging MPs to move quickly in ratifying the new NAFTA, as opposition parties say they will not rubber stamp the deal.

Canada is the last of the three countries to deal with the ratification process, after the U.S. and Mexico have given it the green light.

Justin Trudeau said on Thursday the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement must be approved, adding millions of jobs are dependent on improving access to our largest trading partners.

“The predictability we have for businesses, for investors, and mostly, for workers and families across the country is essential, particularly in a time where the world has gotten less predictable and more challenging in so many ways,” he said at a Liberal caucus meeting. “It’s up to us to work more with other parties, to work more across the country as we take Parliament seriously. We need to make it work.”

The call came as the Bloc Québécois and NDP said they would not allow the government to fast track the trade pact, adding they want to see extensive studies.

It’s not clear if the government hopes to use time allocation to set limits on debate, however it won’t be as easy to do that now that they’ve lost their majority. In this minority government, the Liberals would need the support of the Conservatives to make that happen.

The Trudeau government is starting the legislative process to approve the deal once Parliament resumes on Monday.

“We need to make sure that we move resolutely and rapidly to put into reality this new NAFTA deal that is so good for Canadians,” Trudeau added, also calling on opposition parties to work with his to get this done.

“Bickering, grandstanding, petty politics, none of these things create jobs,” he said. “They don’t make anyone’s retirement safer, or the environment cleaner. Collaboration, dialogue, and constructive debate, however, can.”

Speaking to the Liberal caucus, he also highlighted other priorities for the spring, including stricter gun control, pharmacare, and tackling climate change.

-With files from The Canadian Press