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Ottawa chapter talks electoral reform and NAFTA with Orléans MP

Liberal MP Andrew Leslie

The Council of Canadians Ottawa chapter met with Liberal MP Andrew Leslie (Orléans) yesterday morning to discuss electoral reform and trade.

Chapter activist Phil Soubliere tells us that he told the MP that backing down on the promise of electoral reform increases voter cynicism, that it wasn’t Trudeau’s decision to make and that MPs should speak up, that there was a consensus for change (in the general public and on the Special Committee for Electoral Reform), and that there’s a growing movement that won’t drop this.

As evidence of Soubliere’s last point, the e-616 petition to the House of Commons, which calls on the Trudeau government to “immediately declare its on-going commitment to ensuring the 2015 election be the last federal Canadian election under the first-past-the-post system”, has now secured 130,432 signatures.

Since the Trudeau government broke its promise on electoral reform a month ago, the Montreal, Saint John, London, Hamilton, Sudbury, Windsor-Essex and now Ottawa chapters have all been in contact with their Member of Parliament to express their ongoing support for electoral reform.

Soubliere also discussed our concerns with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Leslie.

He tells us, “I noted that the NAFTA situation shouldn’t be viewed as a disaster, but rather an opportunity to re-evaluate certain aspects such as the dispute provisions.”

In January, the CBC reported, “Retired army commander Andrew Leslie has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, and will take on ‘special responsibilities’ for the crucial Canada-U.S. relations file. A news release from the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Leslie will play ‘a critical role in building ties with the new U.S. administration’. Leslie, who was first elected in 2015, currently serves as the chief government whip. He will assume his new duties as parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland starting on Jan. 30.”

The Council of Canadians has been calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure an open and transparent process on the renegotiation of NAFTA. Our open letter to him also highlights, “I ask you to remove NAFTA’s Chapter 11 investment provisions that allow corporations to sue governments over public interest laws or policies that hurt future corporate profits.”

To send your letter to the prime minister today, please click on our online action alert that can be found here.

The formal talks on the renegotiation of NAFTA are expected to begin on June 1.