Canada staying out of U.S. ratification fight over new NAFTA, Leslie says

Andrew Leslie, the government’s parliamentary secretary for Canada-U.S. relations, says Canada is not interfering with the U.S. ratification process, much as Canadians wouldn’t want Americans trying to influence ours.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Black History Month reception in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — After pushing American politicians hard to try to salvage the old North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada is leaving it up to them whether they approve its replacement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is continuing to work with Americans, including those on both sides of the aisle in Congress, to try to get tariffs on steel and aluminum lifted as the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is ratified.

But Andrew Leslie, the government’s parliamentary secretary for Canada-U.S. relations, says Canada is not interfering with the U.S. ratification process, much as Canadians wouldn’t want Americans trying to influence ours.

Canada went on a major charm offensive with politicians and business leaders in the U.S., hoping to save NAFTA  from the protectionism of President Donald Trump.

While Trump used his state of the union speech in Congress Tuesday to urge U.S. legislators to pass the updated version, Democrats who now control the House of Representatives are not convinced it is the right deal and are unsure they will vote for it.

Leslie says there is no direct communication between Canadian officials and Democrats to try to get the deal through.

The Canadian Press

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