Ambrose meets Trump NAFTA point man

WASHINGTON — Canada’s Opposition leader says she’s feeling a bit reassured after meeting U.S. President Donald Trump’s point man on trade and wants to take that message home to calm jitters in the business community.

Rona Ambrose met Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a visit to Washington on Monday. She said Ross acknowledges not only the value of the Canada-U.S. business relationship, but also the need to provide stability and business confidence.

”He understands the importance of the Canadian-U.S. relationship,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “And my sense was that he understands the importance of business confidence. And that was obviously a very positive sign.

”I felt reassured that I could go back to the business community … (and say he is) someone who understands business confidence. That’s reassuring.”

That desire to calm the business-investment climate is one reason the interim Conservative leader says she favours a faster renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Some observers suggest a go-slow attitude might favour Canada — let the clock tick down toward the election in Mexico and, facing the prospect of a Trump-bashing leftist getting elected there, Trump might feel cornered into delivering a quick deal.

Ambrose doesn’t share that view.

She expresses two qualms with the go-slow attitude. First, it extends uncertainty. She points to NAFTA, U.S. tax reforms, Buy American talk and the softwood dispute as multiple ingredients in a recipe for investor concern: ”We know there are already people holding off business decisions because of this.”

Her other problem with it: more delay could impair relations with Mexico, she says.

If the issue lingers deep into the Mexican election, she says it could mean more anti-Americanism on the campaign trail, more protectionist talk and potentially weaken the continent’s competitiveness against other trading blocs.

”We have to think bigger picture,” she said.

Ambrose was accompanied in her meeting with Ross by the Liberal-appointed ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton.

She has made clear her party will work with the government during the NAFTA negotiation, and not use it for partisan advantage. As one example of that co-operation, she said she and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have been speaking about getting MPs who work on a parliamentary trade committee to travel throughout the U.S. to point out mutually beneficial trade relationships.

Ambrose says it’s a matter of national interest.

She has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, offering her own party’s contacts and expertise gained while in government. She said her party will likely maintain that less-partisan posture as long as NAFTA’s fate remains uncertain.

”Park partisanship over here,” Ambrose said in the interview.

”I represent Canadian families, and workers, and business people — who are anxious about what a border adjustment tax could do … and they’re worried about what would happen in a renegotiation of NAFTA… . I’m not here to negotiate. That’s the government’s job. I’m here to make the case for jobs… .

”We’ll be a united front. We’re Conservatives, but we want a good agreement for Canada.”

Just Posted

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

Flu cases steadily climb in Central Alberta

So far the number of Central Albertans admitted to hospital with the… Continue reading

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Auditor general flags Royal Military College for costs, cadet behaviour

The Royal Military College of Canada has taken another blow to its… Continue reading

After death of 8th child, Ikea relaunches dresser recall in U.S and Canada

NEW YORK — Ikea relaunched a recall of 29 million chests and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month