Canada can still join NAFTA, but at what cost? | National Union of Public and General Employees

Canada can still join NAFTA, but at what cost?

"We do not need our government to be bullied into a bad trade deal." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Ottawa (28 August 2018) — The President of the United States took to Twitter today to announce that negotiations with Mexico have been successful and the parties have agreed to terms on the trade deal that will replace NAFTA. 

Pressure mounts as Mexico and U.S. settle trade issues

Reports also say that Trump is keen on getting Canada back to the table to work out final terms for a settlement. Trump has said that if Canada "negotiates fairly," getting an agreement should be easy.

Mexico would like to see the deal complete before the current President Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office on December 1. The Americans have said that a deal needs to be made before August 31, in order to be passed by Congress by the end of the year. 

Canada has not been at the negotiating table since Mexico and the U.S. started their bilateral discussions 5 weeks ago. The Minister of Trade, Chrystia Freeland is now heading to Washington in order to renew discussions with the U.S.

Any deal must protect Canada's right to self-governance, protect workers' rights and the environment

"There may be expectations for a quick turnaround, but Canada needs to be strong going into these final stages," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "There are still big issues that need to be worked out. We do not need our government to be bullied into a bad trade deal."

A spokesperson for Minister Freeland's office stated, "We will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada and good for the middle class." The labour movement, environmentalists, and civil society are watching the developments to ensure the government makes good on this promise.

"This is not the time to rush decision-making because of someone else's timeline or agenda," said Brown. "Trade with the U.S. didn't start with NAFTA and several studies have concluded that an end to NAFTA in Canada would not result in a crisis for us. Having no deal on NAFTA would be better for Canada than being stampeded into a second-class deal." 

"Canada must not negotiate a deal that infringes on our government's ability to govern, or one that reduces or attacks workers' rights or compromises the environment. Whatever deal is signed must be transparent and accountable to the public," said Brown.




The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE


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