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Reactions to USMCA trade deal criticize Trudeau government's concessions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council after an agreement was reached in the NAFTA negotiations in Ottawa on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

Environmental groups are calling the new trade deal between Canada, the U-S and Mexico same old, same old

Unifor leader Jerry Dias praised Canada's protection of the energy sector and the dispute resolution section

Reactions across Canada varied to the new trade deal struck by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico that was announced earlier today. While provincial and union leaders praise parts of it, and that a deal was indeed struck by the deadline, they also claim Canada gave up too many concessions.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan says the new trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico provides important stability for business and Canada’s economy.

Horgan says in a statement that the deal will keep supply chains intact.

He says he’s also pleased the independent dispute-resolution system from the previous NAFTA accord will be preserved because it’s proven to be an essential mechanism for challenging American tariffs on Canadian softwood and other exports.

But the premier says his government is concerned about the possible impacts on the nearly 8,000 workers in the province’s dairy industry because the agreement provides more access to Canada for American producers.

Further east, the Premier of Saskatchewan says the new U-S, Mexico and Canada trade agreement keeps the borders open for the province’s biggest trading partner. Scott Moe says it’s a victory for Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry.

“Not just in the crops we send back and forth across the border, but, for instance, the largest importing product from Montana into Saskatchewan is wheat of all things, where we add value to that product and send it on,” Moe says.

Moe also says that maintaining access for the province’s energy and mining industries is essential as 55 per cent of Saskatchewan’s exports and 85 per cent of its imports are American based. But Moe feels the province’s steel and aluminum industry as well as some manufacturers will still be hurt by the deal.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’s concerned about how the province’s dairy farmers will be affected by Canada’s new trade deal with the United States and Mexico. He says that while he’s optimistic the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will create opportunities, he’s worried about the impact on Ontario’s agriculture sector. Ford says he’s also concerned about steel and aluminum tariffs that appear to remain in place.

“We’re calling on the Trudeau Liberals to compensate our farmers, to support our steel and aluminum workers and our auto industry. They need to support of the federal government. We were not at the table or the deal would have been a little different,” Ford says.

Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said earlier Monday the federal government will compensate any losses borne by dairy farmers.

Union leader says Trudeau and his team could have done better

Unifor leader Jerry Dias praised Canada’s protection of the energy sector and the dispute resolution section, but like others, he was disappointed with the concessions on dairy.

“We were able to make sure that the dispute mechanism within the original NAFTA agreement is preserved so that we can have a fair adjudication process in our disputes with the United States,” he told reporters in Ottawa.

Environmental activists see USMCA as business as usual

Environmental groups are calling the new trade deal between Canada, the U-S and Mexico same old, same old when it comes to fighting climate change. Keith Stewart of Greenpeace calls the new pact an about-face from the Liberal government’s promise to fight for progressive trade agreements.

Environmental groups are calling the new trade deal between Canada, the U-S and Mexico same old, same old when it comes to fighting climate change. Keith Stewart of Greenpeace calls the new pact an about-face from the Liberal government’s promise to fight for progressive trade agreements.

“So Trudeau went into this saying, oh yeah, we’re gonna have a chapter on environment, we’re going to have a chapter on Indigenous rights, we’re going to have a chapter on gender, and all of that has disappeared and teh focus has been on trying to protect and preserve the economic status quo as much as possible,” Stewart said.