Legault urges Blanchet to back free trade deal, cautions Trudeau on Bill 21

Posted In: News Date:Dec 14th, 2019

Quebec Premier François Legault voiced his support for the new North American free trade pact Friday and called on Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet to help speed its passage through Parliament.

Blanchet has threatened to vote against implementing the deal over concerns about damage to Quebec's aluminum industry, but Legault said the agreement contains important gains for the aluminum sector.

"I'm asking Yves-François Blanchet, for the Bloc to support the deal, to not delay the work — to not filibuster it — so that it's adopted quickly,'' Legault said following a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal.

The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement saw Mexico agree to a tighter definition on what constitutes North American steel but not aluminum, an exclusion that union and industry officials argue could allow the country to become a back door for aluminum from China.

"Unfortunately we know very well that Mexico is importing aluminum from China and doesn't respect this target of 70 per cent,'' Legault said.

The tweaked requirements, announced this week, state that 70 per cent of steel and aluminum used in auto manufacturing must be purchased in North America — but only the steel has to be produced in North America.