Buy American: Trudeau must dig with Biden, says Mulroney

OTTAWA – As US President Joe Biden moves forward with a new ‘Buy US’ strategy for the automotive sector, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney says it’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to go to Washington, DC and “get his hands dirty” argues for why the proposal is wrong.

Biden laid out his Build Back Better budget framework Thursday, a plan he promises will create millions of U.S. jobs and includes a tax deduction for electric vehicles on U.S.-made cars.

This is of concern to Canada, where International Trade Minister Mary Ng warns that this kind of provision could harm jobs in Canada’s car manufacturing sector and may even conflict with existing trade agreements.

“There are a lot of protectionists in there [Congress]. The prime minister has to look beyond that and get down there and get his hands dirty working with the Americans and say, ‘This is wrong,’ Mulroney said in an interview with Evan Solomon, which airs on CTV’s poll on Sunday. .

“The Prime Minister has to say ‘this is unacceptable to Canada, privately, and here’s why.’

Mulroney said that although Biden and Trudeau appear to have a solid relationship, “the results of that have not been seen yet”, as Canada has not come very far in raising the issue against Biden’s ‘Buy American’ approach.

“The Canada-US file is like the national unity file, only the Prime Minister can handle this. It is so important to our well-being, it is not something you can delegate,” Mulroney said. “If you have a good personal relationship with the US President and the leadership of Congress on both sides of the equation, if you have it – and you should have it, if you are the Prime Minister of Canada – great things can happen. “


On Tuesday, Trudeau elected Melanie Joly to be Canada’s fifth foreign secretary in six years.

Asked what he thinks her biggest challenge will be getting into the high-ranking portfolio, Mulroney said it will be “reaffirming Canada’s role as a major player in the world.”

“First and foremost, we have to live up to our own commitments. We owe our NATO payments, we owe the commitment to foreign aid … And you get nowhere unless your interlocutors know you are a serious country that pays its bills … We can not claim leadership requirements if we do not live up to our fundamental obligations to the world community, ”said Mulroney.

“I know her, I think she’s a talented, charming person who could do a very good job for Canada internationally. But I think she’s going to have to pay attention to the basics.”


More generally, Mulroney said the biggest challenges facing the federal liberal government on the world stage today are twofold: China and climate change.

“These are the two international challenges that require strong, principled leadership. You know, prime ministers are not elected for popularity, they are elected to provide leadership. And there are times when Canadians should not be told what they want to know, but what they need to know. Not what they want to hear, but what they need to know, ”Mulroney said.

“And what they need to know is that these are the two main challenges, and if Canada is to play a constructive international role, it must work with other industrialized nations to address the two issues.”

He said he believed Canada was equipped and ready to do so and that “to the extent possible, all political parties should support the government as they pursue solutions that are crucial to Canada in these two key areas. . “


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