Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during the question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 26, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
At 18 different events from Vancouver to St. John's, government MPs will argue a deal with the European Union would boost trade, putting the equivalent of $1,000 in every Canadian's pocket and creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
The Conservative MPs, led by Trade Minister Ed Fast, are also ramping up the rhetoric on the NDP, accusing New Democrats of lining themselves up with "radical anti-trade activists" and preferring to see a "Canada that cowers" in the face of globalization.
The ramped-up rhetoric comes as two new national polls were released Friday, one of which shows the Conservatives trailing the NDP and another that shows the two parties tied in terms of popular support.
"There is no better job creator, and economic growth generator, than free and open trade," Fast told a breakfast audience in Ottawa before taking aim at "anti-trade activists who find great joy in spreading misinformation about trade."
Fast, who represents a riding in Abbotsford, B.C., said those activists have friends in the country's official Opposition.
"The NDP is a party beholden, financially and organizationally, to unions and radical anti-trade activist groups," Fast said. "Their vision for Canada is a country that turns inward out of insecurity, a Canada that cowers, a Canada that lacks confidence. Our Conservative government categorically rejects that view."
But it's not just New Democrats who are worried about a free trade deal with the European Union.
In his report to the Ontario government earlier this year, Don Drummond, the former chief economist of TD Bank, warned that new intellectual property provisions that could be part of the Canada-European deal could make prescription drugs more expensive. Drummond suggested the deal could cost Ontario taxpayers $1.2 billion a year in higher drug costs.
Canada and the EU continue to negotiate over intellectual property, agriculture, and other provisions.