Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Driver change?

Jim Flaherty:

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he's concerned over threats by the presidential Democratic candidates to pull the U.S. out of the free trade agreement, suggesting they need to brush up on the benefits of the pact.

'We cannot create demand for product. Demand for product comes from consumers, and there is an economic slowdown in the United States.'—Jim Flaherty, finance minister

During Tuesday night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they would pull the United States out of the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico unless it's renegotiated to include tougher enforcement of labour and environmental standards. During the campaign, both have been critical of NAFTA and what they see as its negative effect on American jobs.

"It is a concern," Flaherty said to reporters on Wednesday when asked about the candidates' comments. "I realize they are in the middle of a presidential nomination race, so they have many things on their mind. But I would think that it's very important that whoever the nominee is enters into a discussion with those who are very knowledgeable about NAFTA."

"NAFTA is of tremendous benefit to Americans. And perhaps the nominees have not had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the benefit to Americans and the American economy of NAFTA."

What? You worried there Jim? Sniff sniff or something.

You don't get to pick the driver when you hitch your horse to someone else's wagon.

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