OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is in Kentucky today to play the role of NAFTA cheerleader, stressing the importance of the friendship and trade ties between Canada and the United States.
He and a number of fellow cabinet ministers are south of the border to sing the praises of the beleaguered trade deal as yet another critical round of talks — the first of the new year — is set to begin in Montreal later this month.
Goodale’s message is largely the same one the government has been trumpeting for months to anyone in the U.S. who will listen: Canada is their state’s No. 1 customer and that thousands of their fellow workers hold good jobs that depend on cross-border trade and investment.
He’s telling the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Lexington, Ky., that while the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade pact can and should be modernized, it should be done without disruptions that would hurt jobs and trade.
Although U.S. President Donald Trump has mused about killing NAFTA, Goodale is urging his listeners to tell Washington that the trade deal can be improved in a way that will produce a “win-win-win.”
Goodale is also stressing emotional links between the two countries, saying his mother’s family comes from Illinois and recalling family visits where his preoccupation with hockey ran into his cousins’ focus on baseball.
“Canada and the United States are partners in the most prosperous, extensive, dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship in the world,” Goodale says in prepared remarks for his Chamber of Commerce speech.
“It deserves and demands our careful attention — as allies, neighbours, friends and, in a lot of cases, family.”
The Canadian Press