Andrew Scheer has come out against free(er) trade with China … he’s not really against free(er) trade, he says, just against the way Prime Minister Trudeau appears to be approaching it. “There is nothing inherently wrong in trading with China, Scheer said – Canada has done so for years and he expects the two will continue to for years .. [and] … “There’s a lot of work we can do when it comes to financial protection so investors in both countries have a level playing field,” he said in an interview aired Sunday … [but, he added] … there are “tremendous” opportunities around the world where the Liberals can otherwise focus as they seek to secure trading partners to fill any gap that might be left with the U.S., even though China’s market is massive.“
There is no doubt that most Canadians are wary of a free trade deal with China. Many are equally concerned about a lack of checks when some Chinese firms buy Canadian high technology companies. So it is good, maybe very good politics to come out against the Trudeau government’s apparent appeasement of the Chinese.
But … and it’s a BIG BUT: we need more and better access to China’s markets … and India’s and Britains’s and Japan’s and the Philippines’ and, and, and … we need, as a nation, to be global free(er) traders, and less dependant on the US market.
One hopes that Mr Scheer will “come out” as an enthusiastic free(er) trader ~ with all comers, big and small ~ and reassure the Chinese that Canada does want good, fair, free(er) trade with them, too … just not at any price.
I think that Team Trudeau knows that its record, after nearly two years in office, is both very thin and, largely, is a pale imitation of what Stephen Harper did and proposed to do. A China trade deal would be something for which Prime Minister Trudeau could claim real credit and that, I suspect, is why there is a whiff of urgency, perhaps even desperation in his approaches to China. It is good politics for Mr Scheer to attack him on it. It would be better policy if the Conservative attack was wrapped in blanket of solid free(er) trade rhetoric.