The Current

'Humiliating' U.S.-Mexico trade deal will limit success of NAFTA negotiations, says Conservative MP

Critics of the Liberal government say it has mishandled the NAFTA file and will be forced to concede on big issues in order to get a deal.

We're only hearing about what we might give up, says Pierre Poilievre

It has been "humiliating" to watch the U.S. and Mexico negotiate a deal behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's back, said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

Read Story Transcript

The U.S.-Mexico trade deal has left Canada on the defensive, and made success in the NAFTA negotiations more difficult, according to a Conservative MP.

"We're not hearing about gains Canada might make in these trade negotiations, only what we might give up,"  said Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative finance critic.

"That sounds like so far the government has been unsuccessful at advancing any Canadian trade objectives," he told The Current's guest host Connie Walker.

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the deal, announced Monday, as a replacement for NAFTA. He promised to bring it to Congress by Friday — leaving Canadian officials just days to either hammer out a way to join the deal, or risk missing out.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been in Washington since Tuesday, but the Liberals' handling of the issue has been heavily criticized by the Conservative opposition.

Poilievre said that it had been "humiliating" to watch the U.S. and Mexico negotiate a deal behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's back.

With outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on speakerphone, U.S. President Donald Trump announces U.S.-Mexico deal and says he'll invite Canada to negotiate 'fairly' to join it. 1:17

Accusations that the issue has been mishandled are nonsense, according to Liberal MP Andrew Leslie.

Negotiations have been going on for over a year, he said, over "literally hundreds of thousands of different line items."

Those negotiations have secured "agreement in principle for successes for Canada, which are literally in the multiple hundreds," he added.

Leslie, who is parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said he was "cautiously optimistic," but refused to elaborate on specific examples.

"I cannot and will not negotiate in public, because what I say may influence some of the decisions that are being taken down in Washington," he said.

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.

Produced by Alison Masemann, Noushin Ziafati and Zena Olijnyk.


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