OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are defending their sharp criticism of the Liberal government’s performance on the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying they want a deal with the United States as much as anyone.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Canada is still presenting a united front in Washington in its effort to forge a deal in advance of Friday’s deadline imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
But Scheer says it is the Opposition’s job to hold the government to account on Canadian soil for what he says was a bad decision to allow Mexico and the U.S. to negotiate a side-deal without Canada at the table.
And the Conservative foreign affairs critic says the official Opposition tried to work with the Liberals on getting a good NAFTA deal, but their overtures were rejected.
Erin O’Toole says that is one reason why Conservatives have become more critical of the Trudeau government as the talks entered this week’s crucial round in Washington.
O’Toole says the support shown for the Liberals by former Conservative ministers such as John Baird doesn’t reflect the view of the current members of his party’s caucus.
The Canadian Press