Skip to main content

Quebec will strongly resist any compromises in trade talks with U.S.: Couillard

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is talking tough on the question of supply management now that the focus switches to Canada after a new trade deal has been reached between the United States and Mexico.

“There will be no compromises by my government,” Couillard said Monday. “On that we will have to be excessively clear.”

The Quebec Liberal party leader made his declaration while campaigning for the Oct. 1 election in Trois-Rivieres, Que.

Story continues below advertisement

Couillard’s remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. and Mexico have reached a bilateral trade “understanding” that could lead to an overhaul – or perhaps the termination – of the three-country North American free-trade agreement.

Trump also invited Canada to rejoin trade negotiations with its NAFTA partners, while also threatening Ottawa that if it can’t each a deal, then he will impose devastating tariffs on automotive imports.

Couillard admitted that the pressure on Canada will be enormous, but repeated several times to reporters that Quebec will strongly resist any compromises that are not acceptable.

“We won’t give our approval and won’t take part in a deal that’s against Quebec’s interests,” he said.

Couillard noted that Quebec is “also attached to what we call a cultural exception,” which he said directly affects the media and cultural organizations in Quebec.

He also said that diplomatic efforts have borne fruit, noting that “voices in the U.S.” have called for a trilateral agreement.

Couillard added that it would be difficult to do two separate bilateral agreements.

Story continues below advertisement

Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee warned Monday of “a danger zone” as the trade talks now turn toward Canada.

He told reporters that he has heard Prime Minister Justin Trudeau say to the U.S. that he would be flexible on the issue of dairy supply management.

Lisee added that he was worried that Canada was ready to make concessions on milk.

But Couillard maintained that Trudeau has always said he would defend supply management as well as Quebec’s cultural exception.

“I have no indication that Trudeau will make any compromises,” Couillard said.

Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault said Monday that Canada should sign a trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico as soon as possible.

Story continues below advertisement

Legault said it’s crucial for the Quebec economy that a deal be reached among the three countries.

He made the comment in Sherbrooke, Que., during the fifth day of the 39-day provincial election campaign.

Legault said billions and billions of dollars are at stake for Quebec and he warned that well-paid workers would suffer a lot without a deal.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter