The international trade minister and her Conservative predecessor shared a warm moment in the House of Commons Monday to celebrate the signing of the Canada-EU free trade deal.
Shortly after announcing that she was set to table a bill to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Chrystia Freeland walked over to shake the hand of Tory MP Ed Fast.
As the previous government’s trade minister, Fast did a great deal of work on the file.
The two hugged on the floor of the House as Liberal and Tory MPs cheered.
House Speaker Geoff Regan said it felt like Valentine’s Day.
International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland embraces former minister of international trade Ed Fast during question period in the House of Commons on Oct. 31, 2016. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
During question period, Freeland told the House the CETA signing was a historic moment for Canada, and expressed hope that “all members will put aside partisanship” to support the deal.
It’s unclear if New Democrats will get on board, however, as the party has expressed concerns about investor-state provisions and how the deal could impact dairy producers.
“With CETA, Canada is setting the international standard for 21st century trade agreements,” Freeland said.
Trudeau also lauds Fast
Earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also singled out Fast for his work, noting that years of negotiations made it possible to put pen to paper Sunday in Brussels.
“For seven years, there was an awful lot of work done on a free trade deal with Europe and I need to credit the members opposite, including the member from Abbotsford (Fast) for doing a lot of work on that over the years,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister also lauded Freeland’s “extraordinary job” getting the deal signed.
“We can all be proud that we now have an extraordinary and positive deal with Europe,” he said.
Going as a happy PM this year
Trudeau expressed optimism Sunday that the provisional application of CETA — approval by Canadian and European parliaments, but not the 28 European states and regional governments involved — could happen within months.
On Monday, when a reporter asked what he was dressing as for Halloween, Trudeau responded: “A prime minister who’s very happy that we signed a major trade deal yesterday.”
With a file from The Canadian Press
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