Trump meets Trudeau. Caviar meets marijuana? :-)

US President Donald Trump will meet Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau. It seems that these two politicians represent almost opposite sides of current global politics. How do see this, is also something what connects them, and what kind of result political result do you expect from Trump-Trudeau relationship? Read few comments.

Canada's PM Justin Trudeau. Credit:

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau. Credit:

Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University

You are right, It looks like stylistically, symbolically, and substantively Trump and Trudeau will mix as well as billionaires and hippies or caviar and marijuana mix… which is not very well…

But, don’t forget, underlying whatever tensions there will be is a joint commitment to protecting the United States and Canada which have MUCH more in common – -the two countries are intertwined economically, politically, diplomatically, culturally – -and that is something both leaders recognize and will uphold…

Daniel Béland, Canada Research Chair in Public Policy, Professor, University of Saskatchewan

It is true that Trudeau and Trump do not see eye to eye on a number of issues, including climate change, Russia (Trudeau recently appointed a foe of the Kremlin of Ukrainian descent, Chrystia Freeland, as Foreign Affairs Minister), refugees, the so-called “Muslim ban” and, perhaps even more important, trade. Trump’s call to re-open NAFTA is a major source of concern in Canada and Trudeau has to decide whether Canada should stand with Mexico here or focus on our bilateral relationship with the US (we do have a free trade agreement with the US that would remain in place even if NAFTA was to fall apart). Additionally, Trudeau and Trump have very different public profiles, as the former is seen as the new hope of the (centrist) left by some observers while the latter is widely described as a proponent of right-wing populism and nationalism.

Despite their ideological difference, however, they will have to work together on some key files, as Canada and the US are strong allies and economic partners. So far, Trump has not paid that much attention to Canada and it seems that his first two phone calls with Trudeau went more smoothly than widely-publicized Trump calls to the French president, the Mexican president, and the Australian prime minister. I suppose this is good news to Canada but Trump is known as being impulsive and rather unpredictable, which is a source of concern here in Canada. At the same time, Canadian officials know that they need to foster relationship with high-ranked bureaucrats, members of the cabinet and, especially, members of Congress. This is the case because presidential powers are limited in the US, due to checks-and-balances. Maintaining strong ties with other US political actors is especially essential now that such an unpredictable and potentially unreliable partner occupies the White House. On issues like trade, Canada has potential allies in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, who support free trade and could challenge Trump on major issues that are so important to Canada.

Kyle Matthews, Executive Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University

U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are total opposites and their policies reflect that. While Trudeau embraces multiculturalism, open borders, Syrian refugees and the United Nations, Trump stands in total opposition to many of the Canadian government’s initiatives and our Prime Minister’s worldview.

Trudeau will be walking a tightrope when he meets President Trump this Monday. The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement will take centre stage but numerous other issues could spring up and put Canada on the defensive. Will Trump put pressure on Trudeau to reign in Canada’s resettlement of Syrian refugees and the country’s much more liberal immigration intakes from parts of the world the U.S. sees as a threat? Will border security be on the table, given a report this week by the Daily Beast website that referred to a leaked FBI memo that said more terrorist were entering the U.S. from Canada than Mexico?

With reports that many in Trump’s team are openly hostile to liberalism and will be supporting populist movements in Europe, one cannot help wonder if the Trudeau government will come under enormous pressure from Canada’s largest economic and security partner.

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