MONTREAL, Canada – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadian voters on Monday, October 14, to give his Liberal Party an absolute majority in upcoming legislative elections, saying it would help him better defend their interests.
But Trudeau, speaking at an event in Windsor, Ontario a week before the elections, ruled out any reopening of the North American trade talks with US President Donald Trump, as sought by an opposition party.
The prime minister refused to say whether he might consider an eventual alliance with the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) of Jagmeet Singh, should the Liberals fall short of a clear majority.
The latest opinion polls show the Liberals neck-and-neck with the Conservative Party of Andrew Scheer, with each tallying around 32 or 33%, leaving both leaders far from an absolute majority.
Singh's party has been a surprise in the campaign. With polls giving it close to 20%, it could leave Trudeau with little alternative but to seek an alliance should the Liberals fall short of 50%.
During his appearance in Windsor, near the US border, Trudeau noted that the NDP wanted to renegotiate the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement – an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement – tentatively signed last year after arduous negotiations with Washington.
"We were able to stand up, stand up to Donald Trump and his punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum, we were able to stand up when he wanted to tear up a trade deal that Windsor – and, indeed, all Canadians – rely on," Trudeau told reporters.
"We secured a good trade deal with our most important trading partner at a time of American protectionism and uncertainty, and all the while Andrew Scheer was saying that we had to cave," the prime minister said.
Tearing up the tripartite trade deal as the NDP wants, he said, was "not standing up for workers."
The new trade pact has yet to be ratified by the US or Canada. The Mexican Senate ratified it in June. – Rappler.com