May 30th, 2019

NDP Statement on the Ratification of the New NAFTA

Tracey Ramsey, NDP Critic for International Trade, made the following statement:

“In perhaps the most outrageous abuse of Parliament we’ve ever seen, the Liberals are pushing through the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Since their election in 2015, Liberals have only shown lip service to the ideals of progressive trade. The new NAFTA is just one more Conservative-negotiated trade agreement, passed by a Liberal government. CETA, CPTPP and now the new NAFTA are all examples of both parties working together while turning their backs on working people, communities and Canadians.
The Liberals have a once in a lifetime opportunity to truly improve the deal by letting the U.S. Congress continue their work to improve the deal, not just for Americans, but for citizens in Canada too. Instead, they are choosing to push through ratification of an agreement that will hurt Canadians and please President Donald Trump.
Congressional members, labor and environmental groups in the U.S. are working hard in talks with Ambassador Lighthizer calling for stronger language to improve labour and environmental provisions and pushing hard to remove the intellectual property protections that will lock in higher prescription drug costs for all three countries. If Liberals are truly the progressives they claim to be then they should be joining in the call for a better deal. Canadians expect their government to fight for a better deal, whenever possible.
New Democrats believe that progressive trade means working with our partners to improve the lives of Canadians. Instead, Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland, with the full support of Scheer’s Conservatives, are ramming through legislation. In ratifying the new NAFTA, the Liberals are telling workers that they are more interested in a trophy on the trade shelf than they are in improving the lives of people.
In addition, given that the House of Commons is sitting for less than four weeks, the deal will not be given the time and attention it deserves. This will result in a considerable loss for Canadians.
New Democrats will always stand up for fair trade that benefits the lives of Canadians. The new NAFTA is simply not good enough for Canadians in its current form. The NDP believes we should wait and give the US Congress the time they need to improve the deal. Working people should not pay the price for bad negotiations.”