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Jagmeet Singh still mum on whether NDP will vote to ratify CUSMA trade deal

Progress made on CUSMA, but still no decision on support: Jagmeet Singh
WATCH: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tells Mercedes Stephenson that there has been progress in key areas for the new NAFTA deal, known as CUSMA in Canada, but his party has not yet decided if they will vote for it in the House of Commons.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh still isn’t saying whether his party will vote in support of the CUSMA trade deal.

In an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, Singh said he plans to do more consultation with workers in sectors that will be impacted by the renegotiated NAFTA deal before he decides whether to back it in the House of Commons.

“My goal is this,” he said.

“In any trade deal that we sign, the benefits shouldn’t flow to the CEO of a company or to the executive board of a powerful corporation. That benefit should flow to Canadian workers and if that isn’t the case, it probably isn’t a deal that we should move forward with.”

READ MORE: Canada, U.S. and Mexico signed a trade deal. What happens now?

No decision yet on whether NDP will support CUSMA: Singh
No decision yet on whether NDP will support CUSMA: Singh

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico on Tuesday signed an updated version of the renegotiated NAFTA deal they reached one year earlier.

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That amended version of the deal included provisions that placed stronger oversight on labour reforms in Mexico, cut down on the length of time that expensive new kinds of drugs can be on the market without generic competition, and boosted protections for the steel industry in North America.

Under the protections of the deal renegotiated last year, 70 per cent of the steel and aluminum used in vehicle manufacturing must come from North America if the manufacturer of the vehicle wants it to be eligible for tariff-free sales on the continent.

The amended version reached last week adds to that by stating that steel eligible for inclusion in that limit must be “melted and poured” in North America.

But it does not say the same for aluminum.

Trudeau says CUSMA deal an “improvement” for Canadian aluminum workers
Trudeau says CUSMA deal an “improvement” for Canadian aluminum workers

That’s prompted some concern from some union leaders who suggest without that requirement in place for aluminum, China could effectively dump its own aluminum in Mexico to have it pushed through the back door into the North American market.

Singh said that although the head of the Aluminum Association of Canada has endorsed the amended deal, he still has concerns.

READ MORE: Here’s what’s going to change with the newly signed CUSMA trade pact

“There’s the head of companies and then there’s the workers,” he said. “And often we’ve seen industries make decisions or government make decisions that the top of the industry, the heads of the industry say is great, but then the workers have a different story.”

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It’s not clear at this point when Canada will ratify that amended deal.

The Liberals had introduced ratification legislation in the last session of Parliament and were preparing to study it in committee, but it died when the writ dropped.

They now have two options: either re-introduce the bill and start the process from scratch, or move a motion to revive the bill to the same status it was at before it died.

The latter, however, would require unanimous consent from all of the members of Parliament — which may be an unlikely scenario in a minority government.

One thing that is certain though is that decision will not be made until the New Year.

The House of Commons rose for the winter break on Friday and is not scheduled to return until the end of January.

Canada, U.S., Mexico finally sign revised NAFTA
Canada, U.S., Mexico finally sign revised NAFTA