Despite the protectionist rhetoric coming from President Trump, the trade critic for the federal Conservatives sounds hopeful — even optimistic — about Canada’s trading relationship with the United States.

“It’s fine to say you want to put America first. It’s fine to say you want to create jobs at home, but at the end of the day, the U.S., like us, is a trading nation,” says Gerry Ritz, who was heavily involved in trade files and negotiations as Canada’s minister of agriculture from 2007 to 2015.

“You break it into bite-sized chunks, the last count was 37 states, their first and major trading partner was Canada. It makes a huge difference to them whether that border is thin and available to them,” he notes in the interview below, recorded at the Crop Production Show in Saskatoon last week.

Speaking with Kelvin Heppner, Ritz shares his opinions on the Trudeau government’s approach with Trump, the new trade minister, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade in Asia, the future of supply management in Canada, as well as the need for changes to domestic policy to (quote) “make Canada great again”:


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