Trump can ex­pect chilly host in Canada

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - By Rob Gil­lies and PaulWise­man

When Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan visited Canada three decades ago, he was so friendly with Prime Min­is­ter Brian Mul­roney they sang a song to­gether.

Ex­pect no duets when Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump makes his first pres­i­den­tial visit to Canada to­day for a sum­mit in a pic­turesque Que­bec town with the lead­ers of the Group of Seven wealthy democ­ra­cies. The­mood will likely be some­thing less than har­mo­nious.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau hasn’t been shy about vent­ing his fury with Trump for im­pos­ing tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum im­ports — in­clud­ing Canada’s— and for jus­ti­fy­ing the pro­tec­tion­ist move by call­ing those im­ports a threat to U.S. na­tional se- cu­rity.

Trudeau has charged that he found the tar­iffs “in­sult­ing” and said such tac­tics are hardly how two close al­lies and trad­ing part­ners that fought side-by-side in­World War II, Korea and Afghanistan should treat one another. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has also clashed with Canada over his in­sis­tence that the 24-yearold North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment in­volv­ing the United States, Canada andMex­ico be writ­ten to bet­ter serve the U.S

The prime min­is­ter had at first re­frained from crit­i­ciz­ing Trump, ap­par­ently in the hope that he could forge a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship that might help pre­serve the land­mark free trade deal, a fore­run­ner of which Rea­gan and Mul­roney ne­go­ti­ated. Those two lead­ers be­came fast friends and fa­mously sang “When Ir­ish Eyes Are Smil­ing” to­gether in Que­bec City in 1985.

Trudeau’s court­ing of Trump ap­peared to work for a time. The pres­i­dent had ini­tially ex­empted Canada from the steel and alu­minum­tar­iffs in­March. But Trudeau be­came ex­as­per­ated and took a shot af­ter Trump let the ex­emp­tion ex­pire last week.

“We’ll con­tinue to make ar­gu­ments based on logic and com­mon sense,” he said, “and hope that even­tu­ally they will pre­vail against an ad­min­is­tra­tion that doesn’t al­ways align it­self around those prin­ci­ples.”

The prime min­is­ter had hoped to visit Washington last week to com­plete what he thought would be the fi­nal stages of the NAFTA rene­go­ti­a­tion. But Vice Pres­i­den­tMike Pence called and de­manded he agree to a “sun­set clause” that would end NAFTA un­less the three coun­tries agreed to ex­tend it ev­ery five years.

Trudeau re­fused, and he can­celed the pro­posed visit. NAFTA talks stalled. Since then, Trump has sounded hos­tile at times to­ward Canada.

Nel­son Wise­man, a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Toronto, said he can’t re­call re­la­tions be­tween U. S. and Canada being worse. He said the G-7 meet­ing will ap­pear to be six lined up against one. There­has even­been spec­u­la­tion­that Trump­might walk out of the­meet­ings— or even de­cide not to show up.


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