Red Deer MPs not impressed with Trump attacks on Canadian trade

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
April 20, 2017 - 1:50pm

Red Deer MPs aren’t impressed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments blasting trade agreements with Canada.

Trump lashed out at Canada on Wednesday after receiving a letter from four U.S. dairy industry groups accusing our country of violating trade commitments.

“Some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others and we're going to start working on that,” he said. "Standing up for dairy farmers in Wisconsin "demands fair trade with all of our trading partners, and that includes Canada."

Trump also called NAFTA very bad for his country and vowed to make “some very big changes” or get rid of the agreement altogether.

Speaking at a Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Thursday, Red Deer – Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins said Trump is a hypocrite who has no idea what he’s talking about.

“Look, I’m not pro or anti-Trump. I’ll work as constructively as I can with our largest trading partner, but our largest trading partner needs to understand that supply management in Canada is the exact same kind of policy he’s espousing for America,” said Calkins.

Red Deer – Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen, who serves as vice-chair on the Industry, Science and Technology Committee said he’ll soon be travelling to Washington to discuss a number of issues, including NAFTA.

 “What we’re going to have to do is simply point out to the various states is where their trading partners are and the relationship there is with Canada. When it comes to supply management, this again is something that Canada has supported for years,” he said. “We have some of the best trade negotiators in the world. When it comes down to us negotiating with the US, we have talent.”

Trump went even further on Thursday, aiming his crosshairs at Canada’s energy and lumber sectors, in addition to dairy.

Dreeshen said ultimately, what’s happening is making it a very difficult time for those who are currently in supply management.

“Quite frankly, the US protects so many areas as well; they have money they’ve put into farm bills, so we simply have to point that out and go from there.”

Rick More, Interim CEO for the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, says they are keeping a close eye on how things develop.

“Trade issues are going to be ongoing with Trump in power. That’s just one industry that’s going to be affected,” More noted. “We have to sit back and find out what this border stuff is really going to mean, ‘American First’ and all that. They’re going to have to sit together, the whole dairy industry and find out how this is going to impact them.”

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