Canada could ratify new NAFTA even if U.S. tariffs stay put: Trudeau

In an interview with CNN, Trudeau says Canada still wants the tariffs lifted before the new version of NAFTA goes into effect.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during the Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit in Montreal on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. PETER MCCABE / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t ruling out the possibility that Canada will ratify its new North American trade deal with the United States and Mexico even if U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum exports are still in place.

In an interview with CNN, portions of which are airing as U.S. voters cast ballots in pivotal midterm elections, Trudeau says Canada still wants the tariffs lifted before the new version of NAFTA goes into effect.

But when asked if he trusts U.S. President Donald Trump to honour the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Trudeau says his father taught him to trust Canadians.

He says it was Pierre Trudeau’s way of telling him that he didn’t have to scare or pander to voters in Canada, since they are capable of making intelligent, rational choices.

Pressed on the question of whether he trusts Trump, Trudeau says he respects the fact that every leader has a different approach to the job of defending their country’s interests.

Trump is using national security grounds to justify tariffs of 10 per cent on aluminum produced outside the U.S. and 25 per cent on steel, and has not lifted his threat to impose a similar 25 per cent tariff on autos.

“What my father taught me was to trust Canadians,” Trudeau said when asked whether the elder Trudeau’s advice to “trust people” would apply to the U.S. president.

“It was a way of looking at the electorate as saying you don’t have to dumb it down for them, you don’t have to scare them into this or that — you can actually treat people like intelligent, rational actors and they will rise to the occasion.”

Related: U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Related: B.C. farmers worry NAFTA deal could affect livelihoods

Trudeau was pressed on whether he trusts Trump to stand by the terms of the USMCA.

“Every leader has the job of sticking up for their own country, and they will do it in their own ways,” he said.

“I respect the fact that people have different approaches to it. My approach is to trust Canadians and deal in a way that is direct with other leaders.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kent to weigh in on ride-sharing policies

The district will be submitting comments to the province on what ride sharing should look like

Enrolment, EA increases make for no surprises in updated school district budget

The budget reflects changes that were made after recieving provincial funds in December

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

Kent looking to replace Ferny Coombe pool with indoor facility

The facility being built is dependent on grant funding from the province and federal government

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Good news: Peak flu season over in B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that while peak season is over, rates remain high this time of year

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

High court ruling allows long-term expats to vote in byelections across Canada

Supreme Court decision enfranchised an estimated one million or more Canadian expats to be able to vote

Vancouver Whitecaps acquire Canadian international Derek Cornelius

Cornelius earned his first senior cap for Canada in September 2018

B.C. university students dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Eating only from dumpsters, the students hope to raise money for food banks in Northern Canada

B.C. woman posts to Facebook after she and nephew reported missing for days

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Most Read