Canada, Mexico clear air over visas on Mexican visitors, Canadian beef

Canada and Mexico moved Tuesday to rid themselves of long-standing trade and travel irritants, touting their relationship as a model against the growing strains of protectionism and isolation in the U.S. and Britain.

OTTAWA — Canada and Mexico moved Tuesday to rid themselves of long-standing trade and travel irritants, touting their relationship as a model against the growing strains of protectionism and isolation in the U.S. and Britain.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would lift its controversial visa requirement for Mexican visitors before the end of the year, while Mexico said it would end long-standing restrictions on Canadian beef imports.

Although both changes are still months away, Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed satisfaction that the two main irritants in their bilateral relationship would be removed, paving the way for deeper co-operation.

Pena Nieto was on Day 2 of a three-day visit to Canada, which culminates in the North American Leaders’ Summit, taking place Wednesday at Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada with Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama.

The protectionist rhetoric coming from the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, along with Britain’s blockbuster decision leave the European Union, will add a counterpoint for the three leaders as they present the continent as a region of economic and political co-operation.

Trudeau called the Mexican-Canadian partnership an example to the world.

“That’s a compelling example that we want to showcase at a time where, unfortunately, people are prone to turning inwards, which will, unfortunately, be at the cost of economic growth and their own success in many situations.”

The visa requirement will be lifted by Dec. 1, while the beef ban ends in October, he said.

Ending Mexican restrictions on Canadian beef, a lingering side effect of long-standing fears over mad-cow disease, “will support Canadian farmers and Canadian families,” he added.

The previous Conservative government imposed visas in 2009 to stop thousands of asylum claims being made by ineligible Mexican citizens — a controversial move that has stood as the major irritant between the two countries ever since.

“Since 2009, this barrier has been set, but today thanks to a great political will, we are overcoming such a barrier,” Pena Nieto said in Spanish.

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel said in a statement that Trudeau was making “a political decision that puts the security of Canadians at risk” by lifting the visa.

“The decision to lift the visa appears to be a completely political quid pro quo, rather than a decision based on evidence and Canada’s national interest.”

The Tories have said the asylum rate for Mexican nationals fell below one per cent over the last four years, down from 25 per cent just before the visa requirement was put in place in 2008.

The two countries also agreed to work together to advance the interests of indigenous people in both countries, in particular to help women gain access to education and foster innovation and entrepreneurship, Trudeau said.

Along with a variety of courtesy calls and photo-op events, the Mexican president also attended a youth event on Tuesday before a state dinner hosted by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall.

Earlier Tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told a forum on innovation that Wednesday’s summit takes place just as similar agendas — transitioning away from fossil fuels and racing towards energy innovation — are seizing governments around the world.

Carr called it “an absolutely important moment as the history of the world begins to adjust to these very important changes.”

“Remarkably, as we talk to each other and as we travel internationally, the agenda of the world is remarkably similar,” he said.

“And that is that we are all in a transition phase where we are reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and increasing our investments in renewable sources of energy, and in innovation.”

On Wednesday, Pena Nieto will sign Mexico on to the Canada-U.S. methane reduction deal announced when Trudeau paid a state visit to Washington in March. That accord pledges to cut methane emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025.

The three leaders will also announce a goal to achieve 50 per cent of clean power generation across North America by 2025, including renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage and cutting energy waste through increased efficiency.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Satnam Singh Sandhu, 42, was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter on Friday in Red Deer Court of Queens Bench. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake man sentenced to six years for choking his wife

Satnam Singh Sandhu pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Some workers are terrified at the prospect of returning to work at Olymel, where hundreds were infected with COVID, says a worker.
Advocate file photo
Second death linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Health confirms

A second death has been linked to the Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

Canada’s vaccine rollout received a boost Friday with the approval of a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

This image released by Briarcliff Entertainment shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary “The Dissident.” (Briarcliff Entertainment via AP)
US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based… Continue reading

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US strike, first under Biden, kills Iran-backed militiaman

BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a… Continue reading

Conservative member of Parliament Michael Cooper holds a press conference as he is joined virtually by fellow members of Parliament, Canadian geriatricians, mental health professionals and Indigenous leaders in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, regarding the Senate amendments to Bill C-7, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Address anti-Indigenous racism in health care before expanding MAID: advocates, MP

OTTAWA — The federal government should not expand access to medical assistance… Continue reading

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Most Read