First steps in new NAFTA ratification to begin Monday: Trudeau

OTTAWA — The first steps in the ratification of the new NAFTA in Canada will be taken Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday.

“When the House returns next week, we will…move forward immediately on ratifying the new NAFTA,” Trudeau said at his cabinet retreat in Winnipeg Tuesday morning.

The process will begin with the tabling of a ways and means motion on Monday, followed by the introduction of the legislation on Wednesday.

“Passing the new NAFTA in Parliament is our priority… millions of Canadians depend on stable, reliable trade with our largest trading partners, from farmers in Alberta and autoworkers in Windsor, to aluminum producers in Saguenay and entrepreneurs in St John’s or in Vancouver,” Trudeau said.

It might take some time for Canada to pass its new NAFTA bill, as it will have to work its way through the House and the Senate, meaning that any potential hiccups on either end could tie up the process.

The Liberals have a minority government, so they’ll need to enlist the support of MPs from other parties in order to get their bill passed. When pressed on which party he expects to be able to work with, the prime minister wouldn’t say.

“There are going to be many conversations to come between our excellent house leader Pablo Rodriguez and the other parties as we negotiate our way through.”

Still, Trudeau said his party has been working hard to drum up support for the new NAFTA.

“What we’ve been doing is reminding everyone in the House and across the country of how important it is to secure our most important trading relationship for future generations,” Trudeau said.

“We are going to make sure we move forward in the right way, and that means ratifying this new NAFTA as quickly as possible, but responsibly in the House of Commons.”

Canada, Mexico and the United states all signed the new NAFTA agreement in mid-December. Mexico was the first to ratify the text just days after the deal was signed. The U.S. followed suit last week.

That means Canada is the last country to ratify the text. The deal can’t come into effect until all three parties have ratified it.

The House resumes sitting on Jan. 27. The Senate resumes sitting on Feb. 4.

With files from CTV’s Rachel Aiello and CTV’s Michel Boyer.