Feds Expected To Table NAFTA Implementation Bill

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to table legislation to implement the renegotiated NAFTA deal later today, triggering the trilateral trade deal’s journey through Parliament, with a limited window of time to pass the bill.

The bill—set to be known as C-100 or “An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States”—will be tabled in the House of Commons after question period, say government sources.

“We recognize that the American situation is slightly more complicated than us. We have, as we saw yesterday, a tremendous amount of support for the ratification of NAFTA because it is a good deal for Canadians,” Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday morning.

Though, Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt said Wednesday that just because her caucus will support passing the implementation legislation, they will use every opportunity to use the debate to raise their lingering concerns about the agreement.

“While we don’t agree that this is a fantastic deal, the reality is that it is a deal,” Raitt said. “They have a lot of work to do in the next three weeks… obstruction is not on our agenda.”

With just three scheduled sitting weeks left in the House, time is limited to usher through the major piece of legislation unless the Liberals decide to extend the sitting.

The Senate is already scheduled to sit a week later, but it will already have a thick roster of government legislation to get through, this bill aside. On Tuesday night the Liberals kicked off weeks of midnight sittings, giving MPs more time to deliberate government business between now and the end of the session.

On Tuesday, Trudeau vowed to keep the pace with the American administration when it comes to ratification of the renegotiated agreement, known as USMCA, or CUSMA depending on what side of the border you are on.

In order for the deal — which was reached in late September and signed in November after nearly 14 months of negotiations — to come into force, it needs to be ratified by all three countries in their respective legislative bodies.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Ottawa to discuss ratification on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland discussed the ratification process and the bill with her cabinet colleagues on Tuesday, accompanied by Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton.

He remains optimistic that despite ongoing tensions between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, that it will pass the renegotiated deal by the end of July when the summer session wraps up.