The House

Midweek podcast: Is any progress being made on NAFTA?

The second round of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations have wrapped up, but it's still unclear how much progress the negotiators have been making. For the midweek podcast, we caught up with Alex Panetta from the Canadian Press who is still in Mexico City.
Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland adjusts her headphones during a press conference regarding the second round of NAFTA renegotiations with Mexico and the U.S. in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Marco Ugarte/The Associated Press)
The second round of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations have wrapped up, but it's still unclear how much progress negotiators are making. 

Especially after reports that the NAFTA discussions were hitting a series of early roadblocks.

This week for the midweek podcast we caught up with Alex Panetta from the Canadian Press who is still in Mexico City.

"I felt like the stories I wrote this week were almost a play in two acts. The truth is nothing significant has been tackled yet," he said.

As Panetta wrote about earlier this week, sources say a recurring pattern involves one country raising a prized priority only to have other parties systematically refuse to engage on the topic,

​"What's not normal about these [negotiations] is that they're saying they want to have it done by December. You can't afford too many more negotiating rounds where you don't touch anything difficult."

On the other hand, Panetta said they have made progress on some of the simpler  files.

"I think two dozen texts got tabled at this round. And so they're starting to work on the backbone of what will be a new NAFTA."


Jitters in Kelowna

Finance Bill Morneau Morneau says doctors shouldn't pay less tax than the nurses who work for them. (Ben Nelms/Canadian Press)

Summer might be coming to an end, but the Liberals are feeling the heat over tax changes they proposed back in July.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has started pushing back against mounting criticism, some of it coming from within the Liberal party. 

The issue has been top of mind at the caucus retreat in Kelowna, B.C., this week.

"Most Liberal MPs, based on the conversations I've had, have been inundated with calls from small busisnesses," said CBC reporter John Paul Tasker, who's in Keowna covering the meeting.

Tasker said some MPs have told him in private that their government hasn't done a good job selling this plan.

"There's jitters. The small busiseness tax changes have really dominated the parliamentary press coverage for the last month or so," he said.

"They're feeling that some of this, some of this media headache, comes down to [Finance Minister Bill Morneau.] And there's also a feeling that the government just overestimated just how big the blow back would be for this kind of change."  

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