Calkins: Getting NAFTA negotiated correctly

MP Blaine Calkins wants to see the Trudeau government sort out its NAFTA negotiations

Blaine Calkins

MP Red Deer-Lacombe

After a welcome Christmas Break, I am currently preparing to head back to Ottawa for the winter session of the House of Commons. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and rang in the new year in good health.

One thing I kept hearing from constituents across the riding is the failure of the Trudeau Liberal government to secure a renegotiated NAFTA deal.

Considering that approximately 85 per cent of Alberta’s exports are sent to the United States, NAFTA termination could have a devastating impact on our province. In total around 13 per cent of Alberta jobs, or over 300,000 jobs, are directly linked to U.S. exports. Additionally, overall Canada-U.S. trade amounts to over $800 billion per year. Therefore, it is crucially important that the Government of Canada secures a renegotiated NAFTA agreement that protects Canadian jobs and businesses.

Without NAFTA, local farmers and businesses in Red Deer and Lacombe would face tariffs when exporting their goods to the United States. As our largest trading partner these tariffs would have a direct and immediate impact on the bottom line of local businesses and negatively impact our economy with the potential to severely affect the local labor market.

In early January, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and his team of Shadow Ministers travelled to Washington, D.C. to fight for a new NAFTA deal. We are working alongside the Government of Canada to present a united front on behalf of Canada in the face of protectionist U.S. trade policies. My Conservative colleagues and I are regularly consulting with concerned businesses and industry groups and our U.S. counterparts regarding the importance of NAFTA’s survival.

In contrast to the Conservative team’s cooperative and supportive stance, the Trudeau Liberal government has taken an obstructionist approach to the NAFTA renegotiation. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberal government is complicating a potential NAFTA deal by insisting on the insertion of provisions on gender equality, labour rights, and Indigenous rights. While important issues, I see little need of one democracy to lecture another in this regard, especially in light of the economic importance of this relationship.

Furthermore, Trudeau has neglected the U.S. trade file in pursuit of a free trade deal with China, which has to date, failed epically. Trudeau has also failed to secure a softwood lumber deal with the comparatively more pro-free trade Obama administration. Now, the Trump administration can use the softwood lumber dispute as leverage in the NAFTA renegotiation. Trudeau has also severely tarnished the image of Canada with the other 10 members of the TPP11, when he failed to show up to the meeting of leaders from these countries to sign the agreement that had been negotiated in good faith. I fear Canada will pay a price for this should TPP11 be implemented.

Overall, I am concerned that Canada is becoming a less attractive place to do business under this Liberal government. While the U.S. government has passed sweeping tax reform to significantly lower their corporate tax rate, the Trudeau Liberals have introduced punitive tax increases on small business owners and refused to cut Canada’s corporate tax to compete with the U.S. Furthermore, the U.S. government is overseeing a dramatic increase in oil and gas production at the same time that the Trudeau Liberal government is imposing a carbon tax, tanker bans, pipeline cancelations and upstream and downstream emissions regulations that make every energy project in Canada unattractive for investment. This is not in the national interest.

The Trudeau Liberal government must act to secure a renegotiated NAFTA deal and reduce taxes to keep the Canadian economy competitive with that of the USA. It’s in all our best interests.

Please contact my Constituency office if you have any questions or concerns on any federally related matters, postage free, at: 201-5025 Parkwood Road, Blackfalds, AB T0M 0J0; tel: 587-621-0020; toll free: 1-800-665-0865 or visit my website: www.blainecalkinsmp.ca.

MP Blaine Calkins

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

Just Posted

Six months into the pandemic, at least some things are getting back to normal for rural producers

‘Things are kind of getting more normal it seems… (we’re) just having to learn how to deal with everything how it is.’

RCMP remind Albertans to practice rail safety

In 2019, Alberta had the second highest number of total railway crossing incidents

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

Sylvan Lake woman says Town’s response time to concerns isn’t enough

Glenda Jackman says it took almost a month for the Town to act on her complaint about a playground

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $50 million Lotto Max jackpot

Jackpot for the next draw will grow to approximately $55 million

Wilkinson aims to be B.C. premier after cabinet role, working as doctor and lawyer

The B.C. election is Wilkinson’s first as the Liberal party leader

First Nations police services look to throne speech pledge for higher, stable funding

‘I won’t be happy until I hear two words: royal assent’

8 charged, $260K in drugs and cash seized in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Millet Agriplex to become a hub for indoor soccer

Wetaskiwin Soccer Club will be operating out of the Millet Agriplex this season.

‘We’re losing what makes the Parkland so distinctive,” conservation specialist says

The Lacombe district will lose two sites with provincial park status: JJ Collett and the Narrows

Ermineskin Kindergarten has a confirmed case of COVID-19

The school has shut down and Cohort 2 is in self-isolation

Most Read