Bill to ratify new North American trade deal coming in short order: Trudeau


The federal government plans to move quickly to approve the updated North American free-trade deal and is sifting the parliamentary calendar to find the right date, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

On his way into a Liberal caucus meeting on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning, Trudeau said he gave a personal promise to U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that the Canadian ratification process will proceed as fast as possible.

Negotiators put the final touches on the renewed continental trade pact in Mexico City this week, but now the deal must be ratified by the legislatures in each country before it takes effect.

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The House of Commons is only scheduled to sit until the end of this week and then MPs are not expected to return until the end of January. An exact decision on timing, Trudeau said, is up to his House leader, Pablo Rodriguez.

“We’re looking at that right now, we’re looking at the remaining days in the calendar, but I have assured both the president of the United States and the president of Mexico, personally, that we will proceed with ratification as quickly as we can,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

The minority Liberal government needs the support of at least one of the opposition parties to get the deal through Parliament. Conservative MPs walking into their own caucus meeting on Wednesday morning were still looking for the text of changes the three countries agreed to on Tuesday.

“The devil is in the details,” said Conservative MP Gerard Deltell, adding later: “We have to see what is the impact of that deal on the economy of Canada.”

Speaking in his Toronto riding this morning, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the deal would provide businesses with confidence to invest in Canada, and will be good for the economy overall.

“We also negotiated a deal that makes sense. There are some aspects of the deal that were improved from our perspective,” he said.

Morneau also said the government will provide an update on the state of the economy and federal finances by Christmas.

Despite bad employment numbers for November, when the economy shed 71,000 jobs, Morneau said the government projects the economy to grow this year and next at a rate second only to the United States among G7 countries.

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