Today Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with US President Donald Trump in Washington. While some of Trudeau’s initial shine may be a wee bit smudged after a couple of years in office, a fairly normal occurrence no doubt, I think it fair to say that he enjoys better approval ratings at home than does Trump who is still causing havoc by being a business bull in a political china shop.
These two leaders carry on a very long tradition of friendship between the countries. We share the world’s longest undefended border and are each other’s largest trading partner. Trump has been quiet regarding Canada, even dragging his feet when it came to issuing a statement about the Quebec City mosque shooting. When he speaks of changing NAFTA he tends to refer to how it affects trade with Mexico.
A potential sticky topic is Trump’s ban on accepting people from seven Muslim-majority countries while Trudeau is a great proponent of welcoming refugees from these countries. With the ban currently on hold after being twice struck down in court, Trump will no doubt be cranky should the subject come up. Given his penchant for walls, will he warn Trudeau about those refugees welcomed by Canada making their way south across the undefended border? Will he turn his attention to a northern wall?
It is not always true that leaders of Canada and the US get along well. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan seemed to forge a genuine friendship . On the other hand Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was never a favourite of Richard Nixon’s. It seems that not only did Tricky Dickie call Trudeau pere a “son of a bitch” but on at least one occasion he referred to the Canadian Prime Minister as an “asshole”. Upon receiving the news Pierre Trudeau allegedly replied “I’ve been called worse things by better people”.
Hopefully all will go well when the two leaders meet.