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Freeland castigates Tories, thanks NDP to move quickly on ratifying USMCA

February 19, 2020  

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has offered effusive thanks to New Democrats and stinging criticism of the Conservatives after the NDP supported the minority Liberal government’s efforts to more speedily ratify the new North American (USMCA) trade agreement.

Freeland told the National Post the government wanted to limit study of the new deal, which replaces the quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement, and get on with a vote to put it into effect.

Freeland said she was surprised that Conservatives wanted to extend committees’ study of the agreement into March and was grateful to New Democrat MPs for supporting the government.

But the Conservative trade critic Randy Hoback said there is no circumstance under which his party would vote against ratifying the trade deal. He said the Tories simply wanted to hear from witnesses to give voice to people who are concerned about the deal, to make it stronger in the long term.

“We’re just asking basic questions that Canadians are asking us. There’s no silly buggery going on in the background. These are just fair questions that need to be answered before moving forward,” he said in an interview with the National Post.

Both the United States and Mexico have formally ratified the new continental trade pact, which was reached after the Trump administration in Washington foisted a renegotiation on its two continental allies in 2017.

(National Post / Canadian Press)