World Bulletin / News Desk
The Inter-Parliamentary Group (IPG), as the annual meetings are called, will feature about a dozen Canadian Members of Parliament and senators and about 70 of their American counterparts.
But the unpredictability of the Donald Trump administration has this year’s session assuming new importance.
“We’ve never seen as much interest on the American side in terms of meeting Canadians, and we will talk about quite a number of issues,” Wayne Easter, co-chair of the IPG and a Canadian MP, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
A good example of the different signals coming from the U.S. is the Senate Finance Committee’s urging of Trump’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, to “get tough” with Canada on long-standing trade issues.
This week, the committee also called for more than minor tinkering with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Yet, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in New York on Wednesday, he told one major American news outlet that Trump assured him during a recent meeting that adjustments to NAFTA would be minor, Global News reported.
“I very much take him at his word when he talks about making a few tweaks,” Trudeau told NBC News.
Canada is the most important trading partner for more than 30 U.S. states, and according to the Canadian government, nearly 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.
Also, about 400,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border daily.
Included are about 30,000-40,000 Canadians who are employed in the U.S. under the non-immigrant NAFTA professional (NT) working visa program.
But specialized Canadian nurses who work at Michigan hospitals were turned away last week at a border crossing because of changes under new immigration policies, the CBC reported.
The nurses were told they must now apply for temporary foreign workers H-1B visas that cost between $3,000 and $4,000 each, the CBC reported.