Conservative leader Andrew Scheer at a campaign stop in Essex, October 16, 2019. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Scheer commits to signing new NAFTA

During a campaign stop in Essex, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said he would sign the current NAFTA agreement for economic security.

“For the sake of having certainty across the economy, this is the deal that [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau came back with. Conservatives will work to improve aspects of the deal once we form government,” said Scheer.

Scheer said renegotiating NAFTA was a once in a generation opportunity and while Trudeau didn’t get it right, Canada needs to move forward.

“It is what it is at this point but I will work very hard to, as Conservatives have in the past, deal with some of these issues on a one-off basis,” said Scheer.

During this campaign, local NDP candidates have said the agreement should be revisited in order to secure better rights for workers.

“The NDP is eager to be part of a collaborative process and when the new NAFTA as its called is not being ratified because of certain glaring issues regarding fair trade that means that we need to revisit it,” NDP candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh Cheryl Hardcastle said at a debate hosted by the Windsor Regional Chamber of Commerce on October 1.

Local Liberal candidates have applauded the new NAFTA saying the region needs it for economic security.

Meanwhile, Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland, who was on the front lines of the trade negotiations said in a news release that Scheer was behind the trade deal from the beginning.

“Andrew Scheer doesn’t like it when we point it out, but it’s a fact Conservatives urged Canada to fold to America’s demands — no matter the cost to our economy or middle-class workers,” said Freeland. “In the NAFTA negotiations, our Liberal government fought tooth and nail to protect Canadian jobs. We said we would get a good deal, and that’s exactly what we achieved.”

Also while in Essex, Scheer announced he would attach penalties of $20,000 to Members of Parliament found guilty of violating ethics laws.

Scheer was accompanied in Essex by Conservative candidates Chris Lewis of Essex, Henry Lau of Windsor-West and Leo DeMarce of Windsor-Tecumseh.