Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t saying what he is willing to do to keep a provision protecting labour rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer workers inside a renewed North American free trade pact.

More than 40 Republican lawmakers wrote U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday demanding the removal of language in the agreement pledging all three countries to support “policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including with regard to pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity.”

The legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

The three countries are expected to sign the deal, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA for short, at the G20 meeting in Argentina at the end of the month.

Trudeau says the deal Canada negotiated has some of the strongest labour and environmental provisions of any trade deal the country has signed.

He also says he is not going to negotiate in public when asked how far he would go to keep the provision in the agreement.

“We got to a good agreement that I think represents Canadian values, Canadian approach, but also values that are broadly shared amongst citizens of our three countries,” Trudeau said Sunday at the end of a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.

“In any trade deal, there are going to be people who would like this or like that or not want this or not want that,” he said, adding that moving forward with a strong agreement is in the interest of all three countries.

READ MORE:Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

In a letter to the White House flagged Friday by the U.S. website Politico, the coalition of 40 members of Congress said the United States “has the right to decide when, whether and how to tackle issues of civil rights, protected classes and workplace rights” as a sovereign nation.

“A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy. It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States Congress has so far explicitly refused to accept,” reads the letter, released Friday.

Signatories to the letter include Iowa Republican Steve King, who made headlines in Canada last month when he tweeted his support for the controversial Toronto mayoral campaign of alt-right anti-immigration champion Faith Goldy.

Another signatory, Republican Doug Lamborn, has expressed concern congressional approval for USMCA could set a precedent “for activist courts” and he said in a statement Friday that Trump needed to remove the “troubling language … adopted behind the scenes.”

The deal must make its way through Congress, and the letter sent Friday to Trump suggests he could lose some Republican support for the agreement unless changes are made.

Trudeau said Sunday that every country will go through its own ratification process.

“Canada will, the United States will,” he said. ”But we’re going to let the American officials and administration focus on their ratification process while we focus on ours.”

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Jason Scott performs in Terrace to celebrate Neil Diamond’s music

As a tribute artist, he says it’s important to keep his songs alive

SAR leads helicopter Family Day rescue to retrieve injured climber

Pilot had to hover over waterfall as rescue team lifted two people to safety

Canadian Snowbirds may return to Terrace after 20 years

Terrace would kick off three B.C. Snowbird performances in 2020 if approved

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

City of Terrace reacts to $8 million provincial infrastructure grant

This is the largest grant ever received by the city, mayor says

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Most Read