Employing a rational choice perspective, this article seeks to explain the shift in the trade policy position of the Canadian province of Ontario during negotiations that led to the North American Free Trade Agreement. In doing so it highlights an important, though often overlooked, phenomenon: issue linkage in public policy construction. Early in 1993, Premier Bob Rae's New Democratic party government significantly shifted its position on the proposed agreement. While never actively supportive of the accord prior to 1993, the provincial government maintained close contact with federal trade negotiators as a means of advancing its core trade objectives. By February 1993, however, the government's position hardened perceptibly. Specifically, the government actively undertook to derail the proposed agreement. This article suggests that this shift cannot be understood in terms of growing dissatisfaction with the impending trade agreement, nor solely to a change in Ontario's trade policy preferences. Rather, it suggests that a broader perspective is needed, and argues that Ontario's position on NAFTA was linked to other priorities of the Rae government: namely, those in the fiscal policy arena.