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‘Free Trade with Free Nations’ in the Conservatives’ platform

Canada’s Recovery plan would build stronger ties with countries that share the values of Canadians, according to the Conservative Party of Canada.
20200807 Erin OToole KA 06
Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

Ottawa, ON - Today, the Hon. Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives, released his plan to secure ‘Free Trade with Free Nations.’ 

“Canada’s Conservatives understand the power of trade to create jobs and strengthen our country,” said O’Toole. “But we also understand that trade agreements must respect the interests of Canadian workers. Signing deals with countries that don’t share our high labour and environmental standards hurts Canada.”

Canada’s Recovery Plan will build stronger ties with countries that share the values of Canadians, including the commitment to human rights, the rule of law, protection of the environment, and respect for Indigenous Peoples.

A Conservative government will secure ‘Free Trade with Free Nations’ by: 

Pursuing a Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom (CANZUK) agreement to build stronger trade, defense, and diplomatic ties. 

Building deeper ties with India as part of an Indo-Pacific strategy, including reviving free trade talks with India after they were derailed by Justin Trudeau. 

Pursuing a partnership with Africa’s Continental Free Trade in infrastructure, energy, and technology.

At the same time, a Conservative government will stand up for Canadians and Canadian values by: 

Protecting jobs and national security by making it harder for foreign firms, particularly state-owned companies from non-free countries, to buy Canadian companies.

Withdrawing from the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, a political tool used by the Chinese government to expand its influence throughout Asia.

“‘Free Trade with Free Nations’ will help us promote Canadian values abroad, while creating jobs and prosperity for Canadians right here at home,” said O’Toole. “Together, we can secure the future of the country.”

Free Trade with Free Nations backgrounder

Creating Jobs Through Free Trade with Free Nations

Canada’s Conservatives believe in the importance of trade agreements to open export markets and create jobs, but Conservatives also believe that trade agreements must respect the interests of Canadian workers and Canada’s commitment to human rights, the rule of law, protection of the environment, and respect for Indigenous Peoples.

Conservatives do not promote free trade for the sake of free trade, but instead believe in engaging international markets to create Canadian jobs, investment, and strategic partnerships. 

A Conservative government will negotiate new agreements with free countries that safeguard workers’ rights and the environment, rebalancing trade priorities away from countries like China and toward the Indo-Pacific and Africa. 

Conservatives will create jobs by helping Canadian exporters leverage existing agreements and expand their sales abroad, as well as ensure that agreements - both bilateral and multilateral - provide Canada with the ability to protect and grow the critical industries that the country depends on for the safety of Canadians. 

Protecting Jobs and National Security 

A Conservative government will: 

  • Reform Canada’s procurement rules to create a vital national interest category that must be sourced in Canada.
  • Create a strategy to repatriate and diversify supply chains to move them away from China. 
  • Protect Canadian intellectual property with a strengthened Investment Canada Act that includes: 
    • A presumption against allowing the takeover of Canadian companies by China’s designated state-owned entities; 
    • A reformed “net benefits” test to better account for the potential effects of a transaction on the broader innovation ecosystem with a particular focus on protecting intellectual property and human capital; 
    • Automatic review of transactions involving sensitive sectors such as defence, artificial intelligence, and rare earth minerals; and 
    • A mandatory national security review. 
  • Withdraw from the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank. 

Creating Jobs Through Expanding Trade with Free Nations

A Conservative government will: 

  • Pursue a Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom (CANZUK) agreement that could include: 
    • Free trade and flow of capital investment between the partners; 
    • Reciprocal freedom to study, live, and work for citizens under expanded areas of labour coordination as agreed upon by all parties;
    • Enhanced defence and security partnerships, including defence production agreements to allow for shared procurement; and 
    • Expanded intelligence cooperation, especially in the areas of cyber-warfare, combatting disinformation, and protecting critical infrastructure.
  • Build deeper ties with India as part of an Indo-Pacific strategy, including: 
    • Continuing to pursue free trade with India while concurrently pursuing an investment treaty to expand upon Canadian strengths as one of the world’s largest investors in India.
  • Leverage Canadian leadership in fintech by working to remove barriers for Canadian firms, provide Canadian regulatory expertise and best practices, support cooperation against illicit finance, and promote financial inclusion in developing regions.
  • Seek to enlarge the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) deal and pursue setting rules for digital trade through the CPTPP. 
  • Advocate for the speedy conclusion of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). 
  • Pursue a partnership with Africa’s Continental Free Trade in infrastructure, energy, and technology.

Creating Jobs by Helping Canadian Companies Expand Export Sales 

A Conservative government will: 

  • Launch a historic trade promotion effort connecting all aspects of Canadian industries with international opportunities. 
  • Animate the full potential of the Canada-UK trade deal, encouraging complementary strengths for international joint ventures, employing more Canadians, advancing Canadian products and services, and pursuing robust economic growth. 
  • Establish a trade accelerator connecting all sectors of the Canadian economy with EU commercial opportunities, measuring progress in job creation and long-term economic projects. 
  • Assist Canada’s nuclear industry with pursuing sales of Canadian nuclear technology to help other countries reduce their GHG emissions. 
  • Engage countries in the Middle East, including by pursuing opportunities created by a warm Emirati-Israeli peace.