Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

As Trump attacks, Canada goes to Plan B: same as Plan A

As Trump attacks, Canada goes to Plan B: same as Plan A

The tweetstorm is the latest fallout from a bad-tempered G7 summit in Quebec, Canada, in which the President found himself at odds with numerous leaders present, largely over his planned tariffs on a range of goods, including steel and aluminum.

At a rare solo news conference before heading to Asia, Trump said he pressed for the G-7 countries to eliminate all tariffs, trade barriers and subsidies in their trading practices.

Such statements are not objectively true or false, but they appear to be what triggered Trump's outburst.

Freeland said Sunday that she remains hopeful that "common sense will triumph".

"We need to avoid a continued tit-for-tat escalation", she said.

Canada's limited options mean "there is no magical Plan B", said University of Ottawa global affairs professor Patrick Leblond.

"This was a hard summit with at times some candid discussions but the conclusion I draw is that it is only through continued dialogue that we can find ways to work together to resolve challenges we face".

"There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with Donald J. Trump", said Peter Navarro, a top Trump trade advisor. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused Trudeau of "betrayal" and said he "stabbed us in the back" with a "sophomoric political stunt".

So there you have it. Justin Trudeau's eyebrows are just fine, thanks. "That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One", said Navarro.

The accusation of backstabbing does not comport with Trudeau's overall message, which was mild and echoed some of his previous statements.

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Soon after Trump left the G7 summit he tweeted that he had instructed the House of Representatives not to endorse the final communique of the G7 summit due to Trudeau's "false statements at his news conference", as the Canadian prime minister dismissed United States metal tariffs as "insulting" and announced retaliatory measures.

June 6 - Trudeau tells Global National that he's "disappointed" at the reasoning behind Trump's tariffs, saying he doesn't understand "in what universe" a long-time ally of the USA could be considered a national security threat. According to Trudeau, he told the president that Canadians may be polite and reasonable but they will not be pushed around and that his nation doesn't "relish" putting tariffs on USA goods and services but is willing to do so. "[Trudeau] can't put Trump in a position of being weak going into the North Korean talks with Kim". "The president is barely out of there, on the plane to North Korea, and he starts insulting us".

KUDLOW: Of course it was, in large part, absolutely.

John Brennan, former CIA Director, said that Trump is a temporary aberration, and asked the States' allies to be patient. "One thing leads to another".

While making no direct criticism of Mr Trump, Mrs May told MPs: "This was a hard summit with, at times, some very candid discussions, but the conclusion I draw is that it is only through continued dialogue that we can find ways to work together to resolve the challenges we face".

KUDLOW: They are all related. The U.K. and USA continue to enjoy a special relationship, she said, which means that "when we disagree with the United States, and with the President, we're able to tell them". We worked with the Western alliance, pleased to do so.

TAPPER: So what is key here?

The government is wary about being seen as an advocate for such an effort but it is keen to broaden the involvement of individual Canadians by encouraging them to express their displeasure by boycotting American goods.

It seems the true explanation for Trump's rhetorical attack on Trudeau is not Canadian tariffs or the content of the prime minister's news conference.

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