Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have his first face-to-face meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday.
It is a vastly different president and administration than the one that welcomed Trudeau last summer when he enjoyed a political bromance with then-president Barack Obama.
Trudeau is hoping to keep the conversation far away from contentious areas of disagreement, according to Canadian Transportation Minister Marc Garneau. Garneau is also the chairman of Trudeau’s special cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. relations and as a former naval officer who was seconded to NASA as an astronaut, he understands both the structure and dynamics of American politics.
Garneau told CBC News that the sit-down session “is going to be a high-level meeting where we talk about the things we share in common. As time goes on, we’ll get down into more specific areas in the different files that are important to the two countries.”
Garneau predicts that Trudeau will shoot a good game of diplomatic pool. “We are negotiators just like the other side. They expect that from us and we expect that from them.… I think the prime minister is going to make the point that, yes, for 35 states we are the No. 1 customer,” he said.
Trudeau intends to “convey our values to the president of the United States and that’s fair. And President Trump will do likewise.… We will talk about what we have in common, but on occasion we will also make the point that we have a different way of looking at certain things.”
That may be easier said than done when meeting with a president who has never shown any hesitation about raising contentious issues and puncturing diplomatic niceties. With Trudeau’s pledge to implement a carbon tax, legalize marijuana and maintain a liberal immigration policy, he has set himself in direct opposition to Trump.
Conservative immigration critic and Calgary Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel told The Daily Caller that Trudeau is “the polar opposite of Trump” and she asks, “What does Trudeau do to indicate that Canada is open for business?”
Conservative Party leadership front-runner Kevin O’Leary told the Daily Caller that Trudeau is meeting with Trump with a losing hand of cards, and that Trump is bound to “have issues about what’s happened under Trudeau’s leadership. He’s taken us to the wrong place economically and certainly on taxes and carbon he’s made some big mistakes. But that doesn’t means I can’t reverse all that when I get there [as prime minister] and I will,” he says.
The last time Trudeau visited Washington, he was feted by former president Obama at an official state dinner as the “torch bearer” of progressive causes.
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