Ambrose disagrees with Scheer’s assertion that Trudeau caved to Trump on NAFTA

Ambrose disagrees with Scheer’s assertion that Trudeau caved to Trump

OTTAWA — The Conservatives’ former leader doesn’t agree with the current leader’s assertion that Canada got taken to the cleaners by Donald Trump on the renegotiated NAFTA.

Rona Ambrose, who was interim Conservative leader after the party’s 2015 election defeat, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did make some concessions to get a deal — particularly offering up some limited access to Canada’s supply-managed dairy sector — but also made some important gains.

“I think at the end of the day, we came out doing well,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

Andrew Scheer, who took over the Conservative helm from Ambrose in 2017, has called the new NAFTA a “historic humiliation” and has accused Trudeau of “capitulating” in the face of the mercurial U.S. president’s threats to scrap NAFTA altogether if he didn’t get a new continental trade deal favouring the United States.

Scheer raised the issue again Tuesday in a statement challenging Trudeau to take part in a leaders’ debate on foreign policy scheduled for Oct. 1, less than three weeks before the Oct. 21 federal election.

“(Trudeau) has been incredibly weak on the world stage — backing down to Donald Trump on NAFTA, humiliating Canada and severely damaging relations with India and failing to stand up for Canada’s interests in China,” he said.

Scheer’s assessment of the new NAFTA is not shared by Ambrose, who was a member of a panel Trudeau appointed to provide advice and help create a united multi-party front during the negotiations.

“I think even the most critical economic analysis shows that, in terms of any loss of GDP, it’s a wash between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico gets hardest hit,” she said.

One assessment by the C.D. Howe Institute found that all three countries will be worse off if the treaty is approved by their legislatures.

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