Former prime minister Chretien doesn’t think Trump will scrap NAFTA


MONTREAL — Former prime minister Jean Chretien says he doesn’t believe U.S. President Donald Trump will scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Canada has benefited from NAFTA, the United States has benefited from NAFTA and Mexico has benefited from NAFTA,” he said Wednesday.

“To put all that in the garbage, I don’t think that will happen tomorrow.”

The former prime minister said there have always been trade problems but that they are solved on a case-by-case basis.

“We have almost $2 billion in business every day with the Americans, so there’s problems that need to be resolved and things have to be modernized and adjusted to new realities,” he said.

Chretien also pointed to the Canada-U.S. auto pact, which was signed in 1965, as further evidence of the benefits of the two countries working together.

He said Canada shared factories and jobs with the Americans under the agreement.

The auto pact was cancelled in 2001 after it was found to be contrary to international trade rules.

Chretien noted that Trump has his own trade issues to deal with.

“Take Iowa, which voted for Trump,” he said. “It sells a big part of their agricultural products to Mexico.”

Chretien admitted the U.S. president never ceases to amaze him on a regular basis.

“Yes, he surprises every morning,” he said, adding he’s not interested in keeping up with his tweets.

Chretien made his comments to reporters at a luncheon held by the Quebec branch of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The organization handed out nine awards to several individuals and companies for their outstanding volunteer and financing campaigns.

Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press