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

Caps bow out after back-to-back overtime losses

Wenatchee Wild eliminate Cowichan from playoffs

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford constituents on board with national clean energy plan

Energy systems in Canada are currently responsible for 80 per cent of the country’s GHGs

Roundabout plans at River Road in Chemainus moving forward

Land issues still being resolved before details revealed to the public

VIDEO: Buckman Coe, Tonye stun audience with great show at Duncan Showroom

Emotional performances, great music lift Thursday night audience

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read