Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada to Bring Feminism to NAFTA Talks in Seeking New Chapter on Gender

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada to Bring Feminism to NAFTA Talks in Seeking New Chapter on Gender

Article excerpt

Canada to bring feminism to NAFTA talks

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OTTAWA - The Liberal government wants to bring its feminism to the North American Free Trade Agreement, building on an agreement between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump to support women entrepreneurs to get gender rights in the deal.

"Canadians broadly support free trade, but their enthusiasm wavers when trade agreements put our workers at an unfair disadvantage because of the high standards that we rightly demand," Foreign Affairs Minister said Monday in a speech at the University of Ottawa.

"Instead, we must pursue progressive trade agreements that are win-win, helping workers both at home and abroad to enjoy higher wages and better conditions," she said as she unveiled some of the priorities Canada is bringing to Washington, D.C. this week for the first round of NAFTA talks.

Those progressive elements should include, Freeland said, a new chapter on gender rights as part of a larger promise to promote gender equality.

It is no secret that Trudeau and Trump are viewed as far apart on the issue.

The Canadian prime minister has proudly called himself a feminist.

Trump, whose inauguration prompted hundreds of thousands of people to march against his stances on gender issues, signed an executive order to enforce the so-called gag rule that forbids international organizations receiving U.S. funding from even mentioning abortion and plans to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Yet, the Liberal government, helped along by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, has managed to engage with the White House on the issue of women in the workforce and Freeland suggested that meant the door was open to a broader discussion.

"We already have something of a track record of working effectively with the U.S. administration on issues of particular concern to women," Freeland told reporters Monday, referring to the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.

The joint initiative aims to help women-owned businesses contribute to economic growth, competitiveness and the integration of the two economies. …

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