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A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club of Canada.
Canadians debating the issue of free trade with the United States. Rejecting any attempt to turn province against province or region against region. The nature of the debate within Canada. Determining whether the deal would secure our access to the U.S. Market, and whether it would allow Canadians to retain control of our own destiny. The speaker's assertion that the deal does not measure up to the goals of Ontario, or Canada as a whole. A critical discussion follows, with specific details and issues being addressed. Topics covered include trade actions against Canada; the dispute-settlement mechanism; misconceptions about what the deal does and does not do; the antidumping law; price adjustment in response to market forces; the vague, general language of the so-called standstill provision; U.S. trade legislation passed before the implementation of the agreement; the dislocation of Canadian industry and workers in order to become more competitive in the U.S. market; further negotiations; future concessions; tariffs; the auto industry; U.S. investment; takeovers; gains and losses of jobs; the period of adjustment; sovereignty. The need to ensure that Canadians can sell goods and services in the U.S. market without "being hamstrung by unreasonable protectionist measures." Rededicating ourselves to a vision that says all things are possible for Canadians if we maintain our capacity to shape our own destiny.