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.

Just Posted

Castlegar food bank collecting school supplies

Supplies needed to help local kids in need

Rossland council urges minister to kill Jumbo Glacier Resort project

Mayor writes letter panning ski resort on environmental, legal, and economic grounds

Jail time for driver involved in Castlegar road rampage

Sean Patrick Byrne caused havoc on Castlegar roads in November

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

Weed control happening at Castlegar sports fields

Soccer and ball fields will be treated over the next month

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

Most Read