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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Morning start: Numerous shipwrecks can be found below Kootenay Lake

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Thursday, May 28

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read