Stop the political games, mayors say to Canadian opposition parties

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante stand beside Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson as he responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, February 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Mayors of major Canadian cities are urging opposition parties in Ottawa to avoid "political games" in ratifying the new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.

Don Iveson, chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Big City Mayors Caucus, warns that unnecessary delays would be "unacceptable" for the business community and exporters across the country.

When Ottawa invests in cities, municipalities deliver for Canadians. I join Mayors across the country in asking the Federal gov't to work with us and:
✅ Permanently fund public transit expansions
✅ Make housing more affordable
✅ Empower munis so we can adapt to #climatechange

— Don Iveson (@doniveson) February 6, 2020

The mayor of Edmonton added that ratifying the new agreement cannot become a "hot potato" as the US presidential election approaches.

Montreal mayor Valérie Plante said that municipalities were on the "front line" renegotiating the agreement that President Donald Trump threatened to tear up. Now that the agreement has been signed and ratified by the United States and Mexico, "now is not the time to play politics."

The Big City Mayors' Caucus met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday morning to take stock of several issues, including the ratification of CUSMA (Canada-US-Mexico Agreement).

In his opening statement, Trudeau urged the mayors present at the meeting to transmit certain "messages" to certain opposition parties who are playing "dangerous games" while trying to delay the final vote on CUSMA at Canadian Parliament.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2020.