Council of federation: NAFTA at the heart of discussions

News 16 July, 2017
  • Patrick Bellerose

    Sunday, 16 July 2017 22:18

    Sunday, 16 July 2017 22:18

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    The first ministers of the provinces and territories will benefit from the Council of the federation, which runs from Monday to Wednesday in Edmonton, to prepare their strategy for the renegotiation of the free trade Agreement north american (NAFTA).

    “The most important folder, it is that of the NAFTA, with the negotiations that will begin soon “, confirms the spokesperson of the prime minister of Quebec, Harold Fortin.

    The meeting will be the opportunity to discuss ” strategy that everyone intends to take to be able to talk to various american actors, whether governors, the unions or the people of the business community “, he adds.

    Us applications

    Especially that the opening of the Council of the federation will coincide with the filing on Monday, the negotiating objectives of the United States by the United States Trade Representative, the agency responsible for advising the u.s. president on issues of trade negotiations.

    “It’s going to be the official position of the u.s. government, which for the time was very vague, says the vice-president, research, C. D. Howe Institute, Daniel Schwanen. We will know their priorities. “

    “It would not surprise me at all that they eventually request access to our markets, which are presently under the management of the offer,” he says. Quebec, with its quotas on poultry and dairy production, would be particularly impacted.

    Several absent

    The federation Council opens, however, a boycott by the three major aboriginal groups to a meeting scheduled on Monday with the provincial premiers. According to Radio-Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis national council and the grouping of inuit Tapiriit Kanatami require to obtain equal status within the Council of the federation.

    Philippe Couillard will miss also this first day due to a scheduling conflict.

    For its part, the new premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, will be missing the summer conference, since he must be sworn in on the 18th of July next.


    Among the other topics which should engage the attention in Edmonton, Philippe Couillard should address the legalization of cannabis with its provincial counterparts. Without trying to completely harmonize the regulations, Quebec wants to make sure to avoid creating too great a ” gap “from one jurisdiction to the other,” says Harold Fortin.

    The meeting will also be an opportunity for the prime minister of quebec to promote its new constitutional approach to its counterparts in the rest of Canada. “It’s going to surely take advantage of the opportunity to talk about the politics of affirmation “, said its spokesman, without providing further details.