"Trade cannot be a divisive issue in this country" — Rona Ambrose


When it comes to policy and politics, is compromise inherently a bad thing? It would seem the expectation on political figures these days is to never back down or never hear from and incorporate the “other side.” But, as former leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Rona Ambrose, explains, “We have to support leaders when they compromise,” because that’s how we get things done.

Ambrose, who served as Leader of the Official Opposition from 2015 to 2017 and was appointed to the NAFTA 2.0 advisory panel by Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, says rising anti-trade sentiment should be seen as a real negative for Canada, as we are a nation built on vibrant export markets.

“We are too small an economy to make trade something we fight about. Anti-trade sentiment is only growing globally, and that’s a real threat to Canada,” she says.

In the interview below, Ambrose discusses how, on a large scale, countries need to be asking the right questions about trade, tariffs, and the manufacturing sector.

NAFTA 2.0, now dubbed the USMCA, was predicated on it being all about the auto sector, and yet, the week the deal is to be signed General Motors announced major closures in Canada and the U.S. — what happened? Ambrose says we need to be thinking more about how we handle fundamentally changed industries. “Is it really free trade that’s the issue? How do we deal with technological advancements for the workforce?”

When it comes to trade with China vis a vis Canada’s complicated relationship with the U.S, Ambrose says what some view as playing both sides is actually Canada protecting our interests. The U.S. is our neighbour and a huge market, and the issues the U.S. raises surrounding intellectual property and market access are concerns we have to take seriously, as they impact us as well, she says.

“We need to go in with our eyes wide open,” she says.

Hear more from RealAg Radio host, Shaun Haney and Rona Ambrose in the audio below. 

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