Bergen hosts round table discussion

MP Candice Bergen held meetings in Winkler and Portage to discuss NAFTA and tariffs.

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Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen’s Defend Local Jobs Tour came to an end in her own riding last week, with round-table meetings in Winkler and Portage.
The tour was held across Canada this summer to connect to workers, businesses and local labour groups to hear their view regarding Canada’s response to the U.S. tariffs.
“As we head back to Ottawa, it’s important that I have a clear picture of the impact that the lack of a NAFTA agreement is having on my riding,” she said.
Bergen said there were no surprises locally. “I would say the message and the concerns have been consistent,” she said. “Regardless of political stripe, people want to see NAFTA signed.”
Bergen said people understand it’s important to our economy to have this deal. “The fact that we’re in such a weak position now, that Mexico, who is the country that Trump was actually having the biggest disagreements with, they have an agreement and we are still left out with very little leverage if any… it’s a bad position to be in,” she said.
The tariffs are also alarming businesses. “We all understand why we had to do the retaliatory tariffs, but it’s not a good end game,” she said. “Tariffs really hurt the consumer and will hurt industry.”
Bergen said at the Winkler meeting there were concerns expressed about the domino effect as potentially more tariffs get applied. “We can’t just keep going on with retaliatory tariffs and think that’s not going to do damage,” she said. “It will do damage.”
Dealing with Trump
Bergen said they aren’t trying to say bargaining with Donald Trump would be easy.
“I think we all understand that Trump is Trump and he does some things that are kind of out there but there were things that Trudeau could have done that would help mitigate that,” she said. “He should have built on the strong relationship we have with the U.S.”
Bergen said Trudeau seemed to have deliberately antagonized Trump instead of building on what we agree on.
“Even though I recognize that there is some unpredictability around Trump, Trudeau has not helped,” she said. “He could have gone in and built on our strengths, built on what we did agree on.”
While NAFTA is the major issue now, Bergen said upsetting foreign leaders is a pattern for Trudeau. She said he upset Japan and Australia regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership, came up empty handed in China and insulted India.
“Everywhere he goes, he’s causing problems and one has to ask themselves, what is Trudeau doing that’s causing our international relationships to be so damaged?” Bergen asked.
Bergen said they will continue to stand up for Canadians.
“I can assure the families and businesses of Portage-Lisgar that Conservatives will always stand with our manufacturers, agricultural producers and small businesses; moreover, we will continue to hold the Trudeau government to account when they don’t take action to defend local jobs,” she said.