In the late 1980s, Canada was a developing first world country, which was still relatively new to most aspects of international trade and policy. In order for Canada to secure its long-term economic future, it was essential for Canada to guarantee itself a secure exporting market for its goods and services. This market that Canada was searching for was supposed to be reciprocal, in other words trade is free. Canada had many different options during this period regarding its move towards free trade. Canada could have chosen to sign more explicit agreements with the World Trade Organization (WTO). This action would have allowed Canada to have a more international presence, and potentially extremely beneficial economic consequences. However, the main problem with committing to the WTO was the fact that no one country is liable to trade with you, rather it only gives you a larger market for potential exchanges. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney noticed these obvious flaws, and opted for a more selective free trade agreement with the United States. Brian Mulroney’s plan called for Canada and the United States to guarantee each other markets for their products. Both the PC and Liberal parties debating over free trade dominated the 1988 federal election. Liberal leader John Turner was strongly against the idea of Canada signing an agreement with the United States, especially without any public input. For the Liberals, they argued that this was the beginning of the end of the country of Canada. For under the agreement that would eventually become known as NAFTA, it was explicitly clear that virtually everything Canadian could be sold to the United States. In addition, Canada was required to sell a product to the United States at a set rate before selling it to other countries for a larger profit. John Turner had a viable reason to question the ideas of Brian Mulroney.
Throughout John Turner’s campaign, he addressed many important issues regarding the Canada-United States Free Trade agreement. Firstly, Turner criticized the gradual reduction in control over the economic and social policies of Canada. By the implementation of NAFTA, Canada was giving up much of its own ideas in exchange for a compromise between their ideas and those of the United States. Turner believes