Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition and interim Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, made the following statement regarding the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA): “This landmark trade agreement is the result of years of hard work. On behalf of the Official Opposition, I welcome this next significant step in bringing the deal into force. I would particularly like to thank a few individuals who otherwise may have gone unrecognized today, but who have done so much to make this deal a reality: the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Honourable Ed Fast, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz. While in government, these leaders put Canada’s economic interests at the top of their priority list, and delivered a deal that will create thousands of jobs and billions in economic benefits for our country. “Their work built on the proud Conservative record of fighting for free trade going back to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA. Conservatives know that trade creates jobs and fuels the economy. When Mr. Harper became Prime Minister in 2006, Canada had free trade agreements with five countries; when he left office, we had agreements with 51, including throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. “As CETA approaches its final implementation, our party will continue to hold the Liberal government to account and ensure that Canadians will reap the rewards of free trade, not only with the European Union, but also through other significant trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We will also continue to press the Liberal government on its failure to resolve trade irritants, such as the softwood lumber dispute with the United States. The Liberals have shown a troubling ambivalence about free trade, and our party will work hard to keep an open, global approach to trade squarely on the policy agenda.”