OTTAWA — The Conservative party is offering support to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he prepares to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday.
Interim leader Rona Ambrose has sent a letter to Trudeau calling for bipartisan efforts in building a relationship with the Trump administration.
She notes members of her caucus have expertise in areas like trade and strong contacts with American lawmakers.
Trudeau said last week in Yellowknife that he would handle any disagreements with the president respectfully and that he sees eye-to-eye with Trump when it comes to the economy and creating jobs for the middle class.
He has avoided directly commenting on Trump's recent executive order banning immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries, which is now the subject of a court battle in the U.S.
Ambrose writes there are a number of key issues Trudeau must address with Trump, including the future of NAFTA, potential "Buy American" legislation and trade relationships with the countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"Simply put, any shortcomings on any of the files could lead to a loss of Canadian jobs," the letter states. "That is something we cannot afford at a time when Canada's economy is already struggling to create good paying, full time work."
Trump has promised to renegotiate or withdraw from NAFTA, which he's called a disaster for the U.S., and he has already pulled out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific deal in favour of seeking individual trade agreements with the countries involved.
Ambrose said the competitiveness of Canada's tax and regulatory policies, the co-ordination of energy and environmental policies, and potential trade action against Canadian lumber producers, agriculture and dairy sectors are also priorities for Trudeau and Trump to discuss.
Trump signed an executive order last month to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline, connecting the oil sands in Alberta to the American Gulf Coast. The proposed project had previously been halted by the Obama administration.
Trudeau has welcomed the project and said it would bring much needed jobs to Canada, a position criticized by NDP leader Tom Mulcair who has said the pipeline would interfere with efforts to combat climate change.
A recent analysis by the National Bank Financial Markets says the revival of Keystone XL could be good for Canada's energy sector, it also predicts Trump's protectionist policies will chop the growth rate for Canada's gross domestic product by as much as 1.5 percentage points.
Trudeau said Friday he expects to have a "good working, constructive" relationship with Trump.
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