Cabinet ministers spend a lot of time, but not much money, on NAFTA outreach

Cabinet keeps costs down on NAFTA travel

OTTAWA — The Liberal government has put a lot of effort into travelling to the United States to help ease the way into the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, but so far, a relatively small amount of money.

The Canadian Press tallied the travel expenses a dozen cabinet ministers racked up in airfare, meals and accommodations for 29 trips they took south of the border since U.S. President Donald Trump moved into the White House.

The total amount was about $96,000 — although that doesn’t include expenses for the prime minister, parliamentary secretaries, staff or officials.

The travel is just one part of a wider strategy to secure face-to-face meetings with everyone from state legislators to members of the Trump administration to advocate for Canadian interests leading up to NAFTA talks.

Liberal MP Wayne Easter says these meetings can help Canada set the facts straight — and get its message across — on thorny trade issues such as dairy and softwood lumber.

The Canadian Press

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