TRUDEAU TAKES HIGH ROAD ON HARPER NAFTA LETTER

Oct 30, 2017

By Michael Kramer

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is steering clear of any criticism of a letter from his Conservative predecessor Stephen Harper – that states the current federal government has been caught “napping on NAFTA.”

When asked, Trudeau refused to address the letter – citing his ongoing respect for the office of the prime minister and its previous occupants.

The PM would only say that Canada is continuing to work hard with its U.S. and Mexican counterparts to update and improve the decades-old trade deal – and negotiations often produce different opinions and proposals.

Harper’s letter contained one of the harshest opinions yet; that U.S. President Donald Trump is not bluffing – when he threatens to abandon the trade pact – and Canada has been too quick to reject American proposals.

Last week’s letter also has Harper saying that negotiators have endangered the talks – by insisting on negotiating alongside Mexico – and for promoting progressive priorities – such as labour, gender, aboriginal and environmental issues.

Canadian government officials have already dismissed the letter as a “gift” to U.S. negotiators. They insist that capitulating to U.S. demands at the NAFTA table – would be a tactical error.

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