Monday, 20 Sep 2021

Debate on Canadian energy just as ‘polarizing” as debate on NAFTA, Trudeau says

The current debate across the country on the future of energy development mirrors the three-decades-old polarizing argument made for and against free trade with the U.S., the prime minister says.

The comparison was made in a speech by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to mining industry executives in Toronto on Monday, who said that the parallels are worth recognizing as the national consensus on the value of free trade led to the landmark NAFTA trade deal that exists today.

“That’s exactly the same situation we’re in right now, where the debate over climate change, the debate over economy versus environment is just as polarized, just as divisive,” Trudeau said of the heightened tensions that emerged during the 1988 free trade election.

Topics such as Canadian national identity and the future of the country were heavily debated prior to the consensus on NAFTA, much like the topics Canadians are arguing about today, Trudeau said.

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