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Mulroney Talks Trade, Leadership at Trucking Conference

From Today’s Trucking:

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney brought a message about the importance of leadership and free trade to fleet executives in Toronto last week – at a time when the trade agreements he championed are being challenged and renegotiated.

In a speech to the Ontario Trucking Association’s annual meeting, Mulroney referred to NAFTA discussions as “the most important international negotiations in modern history” for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. And he drew on a series of statistics to prove his point about the value of trade.

“The statistics alone speak to the success of the (Canada-U.S.) Free Trade Agreement,” he said, noting how trade between the countries has tripled since 1989. “With less than 7% of the world’s population, NAFTA produces 29% of the world’s wealth.”

While U.S. President Donald Trump has referred to NAFTA as a terrible deal, Mulroney stressed that our southern neighbors have “done extremely well”, referring to the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1% as an example.

“I am persuaded that the highly talented and capable team put together by Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, will do a top-flight job for our country. This will result in a modernized NAFTA that will continue to produce tremendous results for all three countries including the millions and millions of new jobs that our children and grandchildren require,” he said. “Only very foolish people would seek to upset this majestic reality.”

The former Progressive Conservative prime minister is also serving as an advisor to the current Liberal government during the negotiations.

“Political capital is required to be spent in great causes for one’s nation. This is precisely such a time. Presidents and prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are chosen to provide leadership. There are times when the voters must be told not what they want to hear, but what they’ve got to know,” he added.

Quoting former English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he said: “That long frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, guarded only by neighboring respect and honorable obligations, is an example to every country.

“That is the leadership challenge confronting the NAFTA negotiators today — to conduct themselves in such a way, in an atmosphere of robust discussions, leavened by a spirit of reasonable compromise, that the product of their successful efforts will be viewed by history as a wise and powerful enhancement of Churchill’s words.”

Read Full Today’s Trucking story here.

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