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Buy American: Trudeau must dig with Biden, says Mulroney

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Buy American: Trudeau must dig with Biden, says Mulroney

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OTTAWA – As US President Joe Biden moves forward with new ‘Buy American’ auto strategy, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney says it’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to surrender in Washington, DC and “get your hands dirty” arguing as to why the proposal is flawed.

Biden on Thursday presented his Build Back Better budget framework, a plan he promises to create millions of jobs in the United States and includes an electric vehicle tax credit on cars made in the United States.

This concerns Canada, with International Trade Minister Mary Ng warning that such a provision could hurt jobs in Canada’s auto manufacturing sector, and could even contradict existing trade agreements.

‘”There are a lot of protectionists in there [Congress]. The Prime Minister has to see beyond that, go out there and get his hands dirty working with the Americans and saying, “This is wrong,” Mulroney said in an interview with Evan Solomon which airs Sunday on CTV’s question period. .

“The Prime Minister has to say ‘this is unacceptable to Canada, in private, and here is why.’ Do his deal, and I’ll bet you $ 1 for a donut, good things are going to happen.

Mulroney said that while Biden and Trudeau appear to have a strong relationship, “the results are not yet visible” as Canada has not gone very far in defending Biden’s “Buy American” approach.

“The Canada-United States file is like the national unity file, only the Prime Minister can deal with it. It’s so vital to our well-being that it’s not something you can delegate, ”Mulroney said. “If you have a great personal relationship with the President of the United States and Congressional leaders on both sides of the equation, if you have this – and you must have it if you are the Prime Minister of Canada – to great things can happen. “


On Tuesday, Trudeau chose Melanie Joly to become Canada’s fifth foreign minister in six years.

When asked what he thought his biggest challenge would be getting into the high-ranking portfolio, Mulroney said it would be to “reaffirm Canada’s role as a major player in the world” .

“First of all, we have to honor our own obligations. We are behind on our payments to NATO, we are behind on the commitment of foreign aid … And you get nowhere until your interlocutors know that you are a serious country that pays its bills … We cannot assert leadership claims if we do not live up to our core commitments to the global community, ”Mulroney said.

“I know her, I think she is a competent, charming person who could do a very good job for Canada on the international stage. But I think she’s going to have to pay attention to the basics.


More generally, Mulroney said the biggest challenges the federal Liberal government faces on the world stage today are twofold: China and climate change.

“These are the two international challenges that require strong, principled leadership. You know, prime ministers are not elected for popularity, they are elected to show leadership. And there are times when Canadians need to be told not what they want to know, but what they need to know. Not what they want to hear, but what they need to know, ”Mulroney said.

“And what they need to know is that those are the two main challenges, and if Canada is to play a constructive international role, it has to be in tandem with other industrialized countries that are dealing with these two issues.”

He said he believed Canada was equipped and ready to do so, and that “to the extent possible, all political parties should support the government in finding solutions that are vital for Canada in these two important areas.” .

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