Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS -

OTTAWA — Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is tak­ing the high road on a let­ter from his Con­ser­va­tive pre­de­ces­sor Stephen Harper that says the cur­rent fed­eral gov­ern­ment has been caught “nap­ping on NAFTA.”

Trudeau re­fused Mon­day to ad­dress the let­ter di­rectly, cit­ing his on­go­ing re­spect for the of­fice of the prime min­is­ter and its pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pants. In­stead, he de­liv­ered a sales pitch on the cur­rent gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to se­cure a bet­ter, more mod­ern trade agree­ment.

“We have con­tin­u­ally made the ex­tremely strong case to the Amer­i­cans about how im­por­tant trade with Canada is, how many good jobs in the U.S. de­pend on trade with Canada, and how we are very much of the view that we can im­prove and mod­ern­ize NAFTA in a way that can ben­e­fit all three of our coun­tries,” Trudeau told a news con­fer­ence.

Harper’s let­ter ex­co­ri­ated the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment for what he de­scribed as a cava­lier ap­proach to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, whom the for­mer prime min­is­ter is con­vinced is not bluff­ing when he threat­ens to aban­don the trade pact.

Trudeau re­fused to ac­knowl­edge the con­tents of the let­ter di­rectly.

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