A Conservative-led government would have fought harder to defend Canadians: MP Sorenson

Liberals back down on automotives in free trade agreeemnt

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed on Oct. 1, almost two years after Prime Minister Trudeau said he was “more than happy” to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with incoming President Donald Trump in order to strengthen and improve the agreement. Unfortunately, that pledge, like all the Liberal Prime Minister’s promises, fell far short of the mark. Now, more than a month after the signing, it is clear that there is virtually nothing in the USMCA that puts Canada in a better position and as a result, according to an Angus Reid Institute Survey, barely a third of Canadians are pleased with the new trade deal.

In a recent editorial, former Justice Minister and colleague, the Honourable Peter MacKay, highlighted the tireless support former Conservative Interim Leader, Rona Ambrose, and former Conservative Industry Minister, James Moore, gave the Liberal government during their pursuit of this deal. He contrasted their backing to the fierce opposition former Prime Minister Mulroney encountered from the Liberals when his Conservative government proposed and negotiated NAFTA. Mr. MacKay also commended Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer for remaining measured in his comments and criticism during the prolonged negotiations. Mr. Scheer rose above the partisan politics as he did not want to jeopardize, in any way, Canadians getting the favourable deal they deserved. However, as we have learned, this is not the “improved” trade agreement we were hoping for and thus, we are now calling a spade a spade. Justin Trudeau and his government failed to provide the necessary leadership to stop the United States from taking advantage of Canada.

RELATED: New Free Trade Agreement may hurt small businesses

Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, backed down on automotives, giving Donald Trump exactly what he wanted: limits on how many cars Canada can export to the United States. Dairy farmers felt betrayed by the hit the supply management system is taking under USMCA, especially on the heels of the concessions made in the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). In an Oct. 23 Op-ed , the National Farmers Union said USMCA “would give US-grown wheat a free ride on Canada’s international reputation and ultimately threaten the quality control system that allows prairie farmers to obtain premium prices for our wheat.” Trudeau also backed down on pharmaceuticals, giving Donald Trump exactly what he wanted: higher prices and bigger profits for American drug companies.

For all these concessions, Justin Trudeau was unable to win anything significant in return. Buy American provisions remain which effectively shut out Canadian companies from bidding on American government contracts. Tariffs remain on steel, aluminum, and softwood lumber and, as U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said, there is no timeline for when they might be lifted.

On Oct. 11, the Liberals did announce new measures to prevent a damaging flood of steel imports into Canada. As a result, on Oct. 25, imports of seven U.S. steel products will be subject to a 25 per cent surtax when the level of those imports exceed historical norms. They have also requested that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal conduct an inquiry to determine whether long-term safeguards are warranted. While these are welcomed actions, we remain disappointed that the Liberal government has failed to put forward a concrete plan to deal with U.S. protectionism including providing measures in their latest Budget that could have prepared the steel and aluminum industry for the inevitable U.S. tariffs. A Conservative-led government would have fought much harder to defend Canadian interests.

READ MORE FROM MP SORENSON: Official Opposition challenges Trudeau government on ‘summer of failure’

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail Kevin.Sorenson.c1@parl.gc.ca.

Just Posted

Erskine and area residents help couple who lost their home and belongings to a fire

Erskine Post Office accepting donations until end of January

MP Sorenson: New Year, New Beginning?

Economic outlook not so bright in coming months

Stettler Library has lots programs for public

Memberships are free for county and town residents

MLA: You don’t vote for the tail

Bureaucracy overtakes elected representatives

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

Edmonton Police advise delays expected for Tuesday pro pipeline convoy

A pro-pipeline truck convoy is expected Tuesday morning on the Anthony Henday in Edmonton

Jason Kenney disputes expense allegations while MP

Questions over his residential expense claims from his time as a cabinet minister in Ottawa

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Most Read