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

February heading to be coldest on record in Kelowna

Temperatures have been unusually cool this month

Okanagan Shuswap weather: Hold on to your toque, wind and snow today

The sun will be hiding behind the clouds for the next few days

It’s time to prune berry bushes to help wildlife in Okanagan

Pruning will help keep wildlife away and be easier to pick when the berries are ripe

Creekside Theatre offers unique experience for cinephiles

The Lake Country theatre shows movies and documentaries twice a month

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Crash closes highway between Vernon and Lumby

Traffic being routed around the scene

Vehicle located in 2018 Shuswap abduction attempt

Chase RCMP say car used has since been sold, suspect still at large

Straight from DeHart

Milestones celebrated by Kelowna business

Hergott: Uncertainty of personal injury claims

Lawyer Paul Hergott tackles personal injury claims in his latest column

Cougar ‘living’ next door to Okanagan elementary school

Conservation Office has been alerted and monitoring large cat

Dog dies in Kamloops RV fire

According to a fundraiser posted on social media, the cause of the fire was electrical

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

Most Read