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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

Nelson and RDCK both eyeing waste wood to produce energy

Nelson’s five-year-old business plan will resurface at council table this summer

Two overdose deaths in Nelson over the weekend

Police warn that much of the current drug supply in the city may be dangerous

Midway mill shutdown expected to last 8 to 10 weeks

Vaagen Fibre Canada cites low inventory, road restrictions as reason for shut down

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Stroke survivors lean on each other in Nelson

‘I’ve learned more about strokes from being in the group than I did from anyone else’

Most Read