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NDP caucus to discuss whether to support new NAFTA, Jagmeet Singh says

NDP Leader Singh says U.S. Democrats ‘fixed’ CUSMA deal
WATCH: NDP Leader Singh says U.S. Democrats 'fixed' CUSMA deal

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he wants to take a “thoughtful approach” to ratifying Canada’s new North American trade deal, calling for an exhaustive review of the agreement before deciding whether the NDP will support it — a move that could slow down the Liberals’ plan to get it passed quickly.

Singh was in Ottawa Wednesday to begin a two-day planning session with his caucus before the House of Commons resumes sitting next week.

He told reporters the Trudeau government won’t get an easy pass from his party on the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

READ MORE: Liberals will introduce bill to ratify new NAFTA next week, Trudeau says

Singh says Canadians were told in the past that Canada got the best deal possible in the initial agreement negotiated with the U.S. and Mexico, but later saw Democrats in Congress make revisions to labour rights and steel and aluminum provisions.

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A full debate in the House of Commons and a study at committee will ensure Canadians are getting the best deal possible, Singh said.

“There’s still some ongoing concerns about the changes that were made to help protect workers and the environment,” he said.

New NAFTA tops agenda when Parliament resumes
New NAFTA tops agenda when Parliament resumes

“I’m concerned about the enforceability, and I want to make sure we do an exhaustive debate, a study in committee, to make sure this is a good deal for Canadians.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday he wants Canada to move swiftly to formally approve North America’s new, long-delayed free trade pact.

His government plans to introduce a motion to apply some of its elements Jan. 27 when Parliament resumes, and will table legislation to ratify the deal two days later.

READ MORE: NAFTA ratification, assault rifle ban among top priorities for Liberal government

Getting the deal passed in Parliament will be a priority, Trudeau said.

But NDP MPs are not alone in saying they’re in no hurry to ratify.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, whose party holds third-place status in the House of Commons, said his MPs will also push for a full debate and committee hearings on the new deal.

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

That leaves the ball in the Conservatives’ court, as the Liberals need support from least one opposition party to pass any legislation in the current minority Parliament.

Singh says the deal was negotiated in a “behind closed doors, take-it-or-leave-it way,” and that Canadians have a right to fully understand all the implications of the trade pact before it’s finalized.

He remained on the fence about whether the NDP would ultimately support it.

“If it turns out that this is something that is going to be in the benefit of Canadians, then we’ll proceed in the right manner,” he said Wednesday.