Canada is a trading nation, our economy and industries are enriched and made stronger through the relationships that Canada has with other countries. While trade is something that we conduct as a means to better our society, it is also a rich part of our legacy. The fur trade is one of the main pillars on which early settlement of what would come to be known as Canada was built, as French and English traders traveled across our great country to trade with First Nations. From modest beginnings, international trade has become a staple of Canadian foreign policy including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
I am proud to be a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party, which concluded negotiating Free Trade Agreements with over 50 countries during our previous administration. We were committed to better aligning Canada’s development and trade interests to ensure that the investments we made abroad delivered maximum value to our partners and Canadian investors and traders. Canada’s long-term economic prosperity became one of our core foreign policy objectives.
Just under a year ago, Canada, the United States and Mexico began renegotiating NAFTA, a free trade agreement that has served all three parties well, for over two and a half decades. Sadly, over the course of the negotiations, there have been those who have chosen to misrepresent facts for domestic political gain. For months, the US administration has been threatening to levy tariffs against Canada’s steel and aluminum sector. Inexplicably, the Liberal government failed to provide any measures in its latest Budget that would prepare industry for this possibility. Conservatives warned the Prime Minister that his government was unprepared for this development, and were unfortunately proven correct when President Trump announced that the United States were moving forward with the tariffs coming into effect on June 1st. This threat to the steel and aluminum industry had been looming, causing massive uncertainty and a turbulent investment climate. While Canada’s Conservatives support the retaliatory tariffs announced by the government, we disagree with the Liberals’ decision to wait until July 1st, instead of employing them immediately.
Canada’s Conservatives understand that there are no winners in a trade war, especially between countries that have such an interwoven economic relationship like Canada and the United States. It has been seen in the past, that these types of actions can unsettle currencies, cause rapid inflation and economic hardship on all sides of the border. While all parties in the House of Commons are working towards a mutually beneficial conclusion, Conservatives call on the Liberal Government to be better prepared for future action by the United States and support industry at all levels, to help get through these difficult times.
Canada’s Conservatives stand with all those effected by these unjustifiable U.S. tariffs, and will always put the interest of Canadian workers first.