- The Magazine
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected efforts by Republican lawmakers to strip LGBTQ rights from a North American free trade deal.
Last week, more than 40 GOP politicians wrote to Donald Trump urging him to remove labor rights protections for LGBTQ workers from a draft of the deal.
They specifically highlighted language stating that Canada, the United States and Mexico all support “policies that protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including with regard to pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity.”
The lawmakers said the U.S. “has the right to decide when, whether and how to tackle issues of civil rights, protected classes and workplace rights,” according to the letter, which was first reported by Politico.
“A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy,” they continued. “It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States Congress has so far explicitly refused to accept.”
Republicans demanded that Trump not sign any trade agreement unless the pro-LGBTQ section was removed.
But Trudeau rejected the GOP’s efforts, telling reporters on Sunday that he was committed to retaining the labor protections in any final version of the deal, the Toronto Star reports.
“We got to a good agreement that I think represents Canadian values, Canadian approach, but also values that are broadly shared amongst citizens of our three countries,” Trudeau said. “In any trade deal, there are going to be people who would like this or like that or not want this or not want that.”
He refused to say how far he would go to maintain the protections, telling reporters he wouldn’t negotiate terms in public.
Instead, he said that passing the deal was in the best interest of all three nations, and that each would go through their own ratification process.
“Canada will, the United States will,” he said. “But we’re going to let the American officials and administration focus on their ratification process while we focus on ours.”
However, should Trump choose not to fight the LGBTQ protections, he could face resitance from Republicans in Congress who signed the letter, including Iowa Rep. Steve King and Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn, who issued a separate statement on Friday demanding Trump remove the “troubling language.”
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