Canada is a trading nation, with one in five jobs directly related to trade. Many of these jobs are in our steel, aluminum, automotive, and manufacturing sectors, contributing billions to our GDP while supporting the livelihoods of thousands of Canadians.
These sectors are deeply integrated with our neighbors to the south.
Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States with our Conservative Leader, Andrew Scheer, to meet with our counterparts and push the benefits of free trade.
Defend Local Jobs Tour
And this summer, my Conservative colleagues and I launched the Defend Local Jobs tour, traveling across the country to hear from workers and businesses impacted by steel and aluminum tariffs.
On the Defend Local Jobs tour, I met with over 150 stakeholders and attended 26 different events in several provinces.
What I heard was very concerning. Some businesses said that they’re cutting back orders while others are making tough financial decisions to stay afloat, including laying people off.
Zero businesses said they have received support from the government, despite the $2 billion dollars promised.
There were three consistent requests they shared with me:
- That Justin Trudeau and the Liberals put an end to the uncertainty with our largest trading partner by signing a deal (which was finally done)
- That the Liberals provide immediate support for companies struggling to stay in business
- That governments take steps to improve Canada’s competitiveness and to reduce the red tape on trade
Steel and aluminum tariffs still in place
Although the Prime Minister signed the updated NAFTA agreement, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), steel and aluminum tariffs are still in place.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has already said that there is “no timeline” for when these tariffs might be lifted while President Trump is musing that quotas may replace his tariffs.
To add to this list, softwood lumber tariffs are also still in place and seem like they’ll remain permanently.
This is a major failure on the part of the government and the Prime Minister in the renegotiation of NAFTA.
The Prime Minister signed an agreement without assurances that current destructive tariffs on steel and aluminum will be lifted.
This should not have happened.
When it comes to trade, the single most important priority of any government is to preserve, grow and promote Canadian jobs and Canadian businesses.
It’s quite evident that Justin Trudeau failed our steel and aluminum businesses and workers, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
As we begin the Fall parliamentary session, I will continue to hold the Liberal government to account on the trade file and all other files impacting Canadians.