Committee wants to quiz Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on Canada-U.S. relations
A House of Commons committee wants to question Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland about her sweeping new mandate to advance Canada’s relations with the Trump administration.
Bob Nault, foreign affairs committee chairperson and Liberal MP, said Freeland’s appearance would be part of a broad study of Canada-U.S. relations that is set to start next week.
The committee will also be delving into Canada-Russia relations following its recent trip to Poland, Ukraine and Latvia, where it got an earful about the threats posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Nault said Freeland’s marching orders from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are unprecedented because they make her the de-facto trade minister with United States as well as Canada’s top diplomat.
“She has a mandate letter that is not one I’ve seen before, in my time,” the veteran MP said in an interview.
“So that will be interesting to have her explain what she’s been asked to do by the prime minister, specifically the fact that she’s the foreign affairs minister but also the trade minister.”
The committee wants to hear from experts from both sides of the border who can explain to Canadians the depth and importance of the relations between the two countries, he said.
“People should not look at our relationship through the lens of an individual politician, or one issue or another. It’s a lot larger than that,” Nault said.
He said he wants the hearings televised so Canadians can hear that directly.
Freeland’s office says the minister is expected to testify before the committee, but no date has been set.
As Freeland finished her two-day trip to Washington on Wednesday, she said she told U.S. politicians that Canada would strongly oppose new tariffs on cross-border trade. She dropped strong hints of retaliation.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday.