November 29th, 2018

NDP: Don’t Sign USMCA Without Critical Fixes

OTTAWA – On Thursday, the NDP called on the Liberal government to listen to Canadians and not sign the USMCA until critical fixes have been made. As it stands, the new deal gives the U.S. oversight on Canada’s dairy sector, and doesn’t address the tariffs on steel and aluminium.

“Trade between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico is worth billions of dollars and the USMCA will have significant consequences on workers, farmers and businesses across this country. The Liberal government says they are “on track” to sign the USMCA tomorrow, but they don’t even have a finalized text to sign. The wording has changed from what was first agreed on and Canadian negotiators have a different interpretation than U.S. negotiators on key issues like dairy,” said NDP International Trade Critic Tracey Ramsey. “There are too many uncertainties, and the Liberal government can’t sign this deal while destructive steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place. It makes no sense for Canada to sign this deal and give away our only opportunity to remove Trump’s unfair tariffs and clarify the impact on dairy.”

The Liberal government began negotiations promising to defend dairy, poultry and egg farmers and to bring in new progressive measures such as a gender chapter, a chapter on the rights of Indigenous peoples and stronger environmental protections. Instead, none of those new chapters were included, and the Liberal government has made major concessions to the Trump administration that will actually hurt dairy, poultry and egg farmers and producers, restrict Canadians’ access to locally produced food and put food safety at risk. Additionally, there are 35,000 direct and 140,000 indirect jobs in Canada that depend on the critical steel and aluminium sectors, and those Canadians and their families are depending on the Liberal government to get rid of these tariffs. If the USMCA is signed tomorrow, the greatest opportunity to get rid of these tariffs will have been wasted.

“While Trudeau’s government claims they haven’t agreed to the U.S. oversight clause and that it won’t be included in the final agreement, Canadians are having a hard time taking them at their word, and farmers are concerned that the Liberal government hasn’t even released the final text,” added NDP Agriculture Critic Alistair MacGregor. “Any American oversight of our Canadian dairy system would undermine Canada’s food sovereignty. How can they even consider signing this agreement that not only gives away more access to our domestic dairy market, but also lets the Americans dictate our dairy policies? New Democrats will keep pushing the Liberal government to fix the USMCA so that it works for Canadians.”