Trudeau urges MPs to move 'resolutely and rapidly' to pass North American trade deal
Legislation to implement NAFTA 2.0 at top of Liberal legislative agenda
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged MPs to move "resolutely and rapidly" to ratify the new North American trade deal.
Addressing his Liberal caucus this morning as MPs meet for a two-day strategy session ahead of next week's return to Parliament, Trudeau said the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) — also known as NAFTA 2.0 — will be the Liberal government's top priority.
"I look forward to debate on this in the House, I look forward to committees doing their work. But 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 from coast to coast to coast," he said.
Trudeau said millions of Canadian jobs depend on free trade with the United States, and stressed the need for predictability for Canadian businesses.
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez said the legislation will go through the normal scrutiny and legislative process, but he also called on MPs not to delay its passage.
"Let's discuss it in the House, let's discuss it in committees, but let's move forward because this is way too important to stall," he said.
Bill coming Wednesday
Trudeau just wrapped up a cabinet retreat in Winnipeg, where he announced that a bill to approve the deal will be tabled on Wednesday.
Canada's premiers called for the bill's passage "as quickly as possible."
"Timely ratification will enable Canadian businesses to benefit from the modernized provisions of the agreement restoring market certainty and contributing to Canada's economic prosperity," said a spokesperson for Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, chair of the Council of the Federation, in a statement.
"The ratification of CUSMA will also allow governments, businesses and workers to move forward with implementation, including the commitment by the federal government to provide full and fair compensation for supply managed farmers and processors who are impacted by the agreement."
Other priorities for the Liberal government include introducing legislation to expand medical assistance in dying (MAID), new gun control measures and steps to tackle climate change.
After being reduced to a minority, the Liberal government must have support from another party to pass legislation and the federal budget.
Time to end 'petty politics'
Trudeau said the takeaway from the election results is that Canadians want the government to work with other parties to "make it work" in the minority context.
"Bickering, grandstanding, petty politics — none of these things create jobs. They don't make anyone's retirement safer or our environment cleaner," he said. "Collaboration, dialogue and constructive debate, however, can."
Trudeau said the government's other priorities for the coming session are:
- Lowering taxes for the middle class.
- Strengthening gun control.
- Improving medicare, including better access to medical doctors and mental health services, and working toward a national, universal pharmacare system.
- Fighting climate change, with the objective of having a net zero emissions economy by 2050.
- Improving market access for natural resources.
- Meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
- Fighting poverty and making life more affordable for the middle class.