Canada will continue to build its political and economic relations with both Britain and the European Union, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the 28-member trading bloc.
“The UK and the EU are important strategic partners for Canada with whom we enjoy deep historical ties and common values,” said Trudeau, who during the referendum campaign had urged British voters to remain in the EU.
“We will continue to build relations with both parties as they forge a new relationship.”
‘Tremendous economic fundamentals’
Trudeau also sought to reassure Canadians that the country is well-positioned to weather the economic storm triggered by Britain’s referendum vote to leave the world’s largest trading and political bloc.
“Canada has tremendous economic fundamentals that we are strengthening with key investments in infrastructure and measures to grow our middle class,” Trudeau said. “We are well positioned to weather global market uncertainty as we have done in the past.”
The fate of the Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was on the mind of ministers in the Liberal government as well as the opposition Conservatives.
International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said she had already spoken with her EU counterpart.
“I was in touch early this morning with the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, about our commitment to CETA and to deepening our trading relationship,” Freeland said in a written statement.
“We remain committed to growing global trade that is good for Canada’s economy, good for the environment, good for labour, and good for people,” she said.
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, whose predecessor — former prime minister Stephen Harper — negotiated the initial Canada-EU free trade deal, urged the Liberal government to “continue to fight for the ratification” of CETA despite Friday’s dramatic results.
Trudeau also thanked British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he will resign by October after voters decided to leave the EU.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to thank him for being such a close ally and good friend to our country” Trudeau says. “We wish him well.”