Trudeau Coy On Whether He Sought Obama Endorsement


David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was coy Wednesday about whether he asked former President Barack Obama for his support.

Obama endorsed Trudeau on Wednesday, with only days left in a Canadian federal election campaign in which Trudeau has faced several challenges. The Opposition Conservative Party is leading in the polls and Trudeau remains dogged by a blackface scandal that has sullied his image as an inclusive progressive.

U.S. President Barack Obama meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer predicted Thursday that his party would give the Trudeau Liberals a shellacking and “win big” on Monday. On Thursday, he dismissed Obama’s endorsement, saying he’s “not very interested in what former foreign leaders are saying.” The endorsement is apparently unprecedented — with only Theodore Roosevelt coming close to urging the re-election of Conservative Sir Robert Borden in 1917. Roosevelt wanted Canadians to back conscription during the First World War — the primary policy that Borden was advocating.

Trudeau did not directly answer when asked if he or anyone on his campaign sought the Obama endorsement, according to the Canadian Press. (RELATED: Trudeau’s New Campaign Slogan Sounds A Lot Like Obama’s In 2012)

“I was happy to be able to work alongside Barack Obama on important issues around the globe, including, significantly, the fight against climate change, and I’m working really hard to be able to continue that work over the next four years,” Trudeau told CP.

He quipped, “I was obviously happy to hear his words yesterday, but nobody tells Barack Obama what he should do.”

Trudeau noted that he hasn’t spoken to Obama since the spring, when the former president was visiting Ottawa to speak to his Canadians fans. In that speech, Obama suggested the Trump era was akin to the “dark ages.” (RELATED: Trudeau Says It Is ‘Deeply Reassuring’ Obama Is Passing On The Progressive Values Torch)

In the book “The World As It Is” former Obama adviser, Ben Rhodes, revealed that Obama told the Canadian prime minister his “voice is going to be needed more” and that he is “going to have to speak out when certain values are threatened.”

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer debate a point during the Federal leaders debate in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada October 7, 2019. Picture taken October 7, 2019. Sean Kilpatrick/Pool via REUTERS

Sean Kilpatrick/Pool via REUTERS

On Tuesday, Trudeau acknowledged that the Conservatives might win the Oct. 21 election, but said they have gained ground because they are running a savage campaign. “We know that the Conservative Party is running one of the dirtiest, nastiest campaigns based on disinformation that we’ve ever seen in this country,” he said.

“And it’s no surprise that they don’t want to share whose deep pockets are funding their attacks on Canadians, on other parties and on the most important fight of our generation, the fight against climate change.”