Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that President Donald Trump can’t justify tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum with bogus national security concerns.
In an interview on “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday, Trudeau said, “The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.”
Trudeau insisted the insinuation was a grave offense to “our soldiers who fought and died together on the beaches of World War II and the mountains of Afghanistan and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world.”
The prime minister reminded viewers that Canadian steel is in U.S. military vehicles and Canadian aluminum is used in American fighter jets.
When asked what Trump wants from Canada, Trudeau said, “I don’t know.” He then suggested it might have something to do with “trade deficits and surpluses around the world” but that “they [the U.S.] have a $2 billion dollar surplus on steel with us.”
When asked if he understood “what the United States wants in this renegotiation,” Trudeau, “I think they want a better deal of their auto sector from Mexico and I think they want access to certain agricultural products, like dairy, to Canada.”
Trudeau said Canada “was moving towards flexibility” vis-a-vis dairy commodities.
Reminded of his close friendship and ideological kinship with former President Barack Obama, Trudeau echoed Obama’s frequent complaint of the global ideological divide.
“I think we’re seeing a polarization of discourse, where people aren’t listening to each other, where we’re not actually listening to people with different perspectives and positions than we have.”
Trudeau said it wasn’t just the U.S. “exporting this polarization.”
“I think this has been something that’s been in all discourses around politics for a long time,” he noted, continuing, “I think it gets exacerbated when there’s economic anxiety and people go tribal almost and they close into their own identity, whether it’s cultural or economic or personal, and we need to do a better job of listening to other perspectives, allowing ourselves to grow and hopefully finding common ground.”