Posted February 11, 2018 07:10:56 When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the country to sign the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement, it was a milestone for the Canadian economy.
But now that the deal is underway, Trudeau is getting less money for his country than his predecessor.
“The deal will make a difference in the lives of Canadians,” Trudeau told the Canadian Press.
But the deal’s benefits are less obvious in Canada than in the U.S., where the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a major business lobby group, has been working to pressure Trudeau to improve the deal.
“We don’t have a lot of data on how much money the provinces get and what they’re getting,” says the chamber’s director of government relations, Mike Gattone.
In 2015, the chamber asked the federal government for $500 million in grants to help provinces get more revenue from trade deals.
In 2017, the same group received $1.2 billion in additional funding for the deal from the federal and provincial governments.
But according to the federal budget, Trudeau has yet to sign off on that extra $1 billion.
The chamber’s Gattnoe says it has been urging Trudeau to do so.
“If there is no agreement, that’s going to be the end of it,” he says.
In the meantime, the business lobby’s efforts are growing.
Last year, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) launched a campaign on Twitter and Facebook to get Trudeau to agree to a similar deal.
That campaign attracted more than 12 million tweets and more than 4 million Facebook likes.
But when Trudeau met with the Canadian Business Leaders Summit last year, he told the audience that his government would “work with provinces to ensure that we get more money for our businesses.”
“We will not let up on fighting to ensure a good deal for our Canadian business community,” Trudeau said.