02.04.2017 09:30 AM

Trudeau doesn’t like Trump

So says the New York Times. Their sources? Trudeau’s very own senior staff:

President Donald J. Trump’s personal style and policies are widely disliked by Canadians, including, according to Mr. Trudeau’s inner circle, Mr. Trudeau himself. But sometimes gall must be swallowed. Mr. Trudeau swiftly turned the machinery of Canada’s government toward finding a way to get along with Mr. Trump.

Does that little paragraph matter? Does it change things? 

I can assure you it does. There are only three things that the Unpresident reads: the Washington Post, the New York Post, and – always, religiously, every morning – the New York Times. 

So, as of right about now, Donald Trump has had it confirmed by Justin Trudeau’s “inner circle” that Justin Trudeau (understandably) doesn’t like him or his policies. I guarantee you there will be no correction, because it is true. Also guaranteed: leaderless U.S. Embassy staff have by now had three conference calls about it. 

Bottom line: the cat’s out of the bag, boys and girls. The bully knows you really, really don’t like him. 

So, why don’t you stop sucking and blowing, and show some spine?

Canadians, along with the world, would appreciate it. 

(PS – Thanks to Ian Austen for pulling back the veil on this malarkey. Canadians appreciate that, too.)


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    Pat says:

    On one hand: personal animosity between a PM and POTUS is not new. It’s been the rule more than the exception since the 1960s. Dief was at odds with Kennedy. Pearson and LBJ despised each other. The Nixon tapes revealed some colourful pointed words about his feelings for the senior Trudeau. And it’s probably not a stretch to say that Chrétien would rather have dealt with someone other than GW. Bush.

    But all those examples were personality and differences of opinion on matters of public policy. All shared some common assumptions and values of about the liberal democratic state, the rule of law and the dignity of human rights.

    What’s at stake now is *different.* We all can feel it. We don’t really know yet what kind of world we are now living in, but it’s one that is at odds with what used to be those shared values.

    For dealing with Trump and the anarchist in his inner circle (you cannot separate these), Canada has two choices: try appeasement and wind up as humiliated as Romney was at that December dinner date.

    Or we resist.

    It’s historically been our nature to be patient diplomats. But we have a parallel history that we don’t talk about much. The one where we do what’s right when our backs are against the wall.

    Friends, our backs are against the wall. Most of us just don’t recognize that quite yet.

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      Warren says:

      This is an excellent comment. I hope everyone reads it.

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        Dan Calda says:


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      Kevin says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

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      mydangblog says:

      Well said.

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      billg says:

      What is “different”?
      I am not trying to be difficult, but, what exactly has changed so much?
      How has the rule of law changed in the US?
      How has the dignity of human rights changed?
      It cant be the immigration ban, the US has a population of 300 million and at best they promised to take in 10,000 refugee’s, and I don’t think they even hit that number.
      Rule of Law and Dignity of Human Rights?
      Over 5,600 murders were committed in the City of Chicago over the past 8 years.
      Many of the Rust Belt smaller community’s have been begging for help in their fight against poverty and drugs while watching their youth slip into the most vile and hopeless lives.
      How many Canadian Veterans are in dire need of mental help right now, or in need of a home.
      How many of our own Native youth are neglected to the point of suicide.
      I cant agree more that the current US President is the most undeserving human being to ever hold that office.
      But, before we decide that we own the moral high ground and that our American friends are deserving of the lecture we are about to give them we should really take a look around at what we’ve decided wasn’t important enough to stand up for in the past, just in case, you know, it gets thrown back in our faces.

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        other one says:

        nothing much. really. just hysteria.

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        Mary says:

        I’m going to comment on one thing you said, BillG, because it pushes my rustbelt-button.

        I grew up in a rust belt city in the 90s close enough to a big city have 3 big employers: a crown corporation, a small number of daily commuters and the majority employer, the car plant. The side to the right of the spectrum never cared about us or our communities then and I doubt they really do now.

        Drugs have always been a huge problem in rustbelt towns. A crack house blew up 10 blocks southwest of my nice neighbourhood in the middle of the night and destroyed both homes on each side. It was literally a 5 min walk to the north assembly plant gate. A lot of the other homes in the areas immediately near the north and south plants dealt too. The police used to have to have a ride program set up pre and post shift and run stings in the lot.

        Anyone who claims this drug-addicted rustbelt culture is a new plague on rustbelt towns is lying because they are romanticizing the past and forgetting the monotony of the work. The question we should be asking is where these oh-so-concerned former globalist trade is good types were in the 90s when coke and heroin were traded like baseball cards in the lots pre-and-post shift and most people wouldn’t let their kids walk home along the main streets near the plants because of it.

        The right-spectrum-side care now because it is politically convenient to do so. I don’t expect their cares to transform into actions any more than it did in the 90s. No one should forget that or allow them to weasel around it.

        The second part is hard to talk about because it is self-inflicted by those suffering.

        I went to school with the parents of the teens you refer to. Our teachers emphasized in the 90s, in the most blunt language possible, that the plants were dying, to not depend on getting a job on the line like Dad or retiring from it. Those of us that listened succeeded. We worked hard, went to college and university or learned a trade. We are doing well, even those who chose to go back and live in that rustbelt city, which is still a great place to live and raise a family because of its proximity to the larger city. Those that didn’t listen, those that stuck their fingers in their ears, singing lalala and accusing MPs of betraying the city over NAFTA?

        They did it to themselves. Don’t romanticize them as global-capitalist victims. They had every opportunity handed to them and slapped it back because the line was easy and took no effort to join. They were proud little peacocks, bragging at me as I worked 2 summer jobs to pay for university while they flashed line cash. They aren’t laughing now. Yet for the most part they are still selling that story of the great line job to their own kids.

        I reluctantly went to my HS reunion, watched them brag about effectively compromising their kids’ futures ‘because Trump’. They still have their fingers in their ears, rejecting change and the post-industrial economy because they refuse to learn new skills or move. They want 1970 not 2017 because they are inherently lazy. Change is hard and requires effort rather than passive acceptance. It requires sacrifice and they have never sacrificed anything in the short term for long term success.

        If they expect help, then they need to be accountable. They need to accept they can’t have that line lifestyle any longer. They can’t expect to be underwritten and rescued every time a car gets moved to a new location for assembly. But they won’t. I know them. I know that community. They aren’t suffering because our government punished them for existing, like native communities.

        The rustbelt cohorts are the most entitled bunch of special interest subsidized people in the country and they take it for granted that they will always get bailed out because at no point has anyone stood up and forced them to make decisions based on what is rather than what was.

        It’s easier to just dead-cat them to get their vote then leave them hanging.

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          daveconstable says:

          Pretty good!
          I lived and worked in the oil patch over 4 decades, and there are echoes there of what you describe here.

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      MgS says:


      I agree with you, and I think on the whole that Trudeau’s on the right track – he isn’t directly acknowledging the bully in the White House – instead, he is doing “the right thing” (e.g. simply making room for those who are displaced).

      I don’t come by this lightly though – in fact I have had to consider long and hard whether a “more muscular” approach is appropriate (e.g. loudly condemning the policies coming out at every turn).

      The more I thought about it, the more I remembered my experiences as a child walking to school. Between my home and my school were the homes of a group of middle school kids who were much bigger than me and took it upon themselves to make my trips to and from school as difficult as possible. Here’s what I learned from that experience:

      1. Don’t acknowledge the thug that is several times your size – that gives them power.
      2. Don’t confront them on their terms – that also gives them power.
      3. Do what you know to be right, and keep moving forward.

      We have to remember that as a nation, Canada’s greatest power is not brute force muscle – the simple fact is that US is many times our size, and when provoked is dangerous. We don’t need to work to appease them either (you can never appease the kind of block-headed nastiness that is typical of Trump and his inner circle. Instead, we must do what is right, while not giving the thugs the attention they are seeking.

      There is a time and a place to be aggressive and confrontational – we must choose those moments wisely.

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      Matt says:

      I’m sure at least some of the, if you want to call it tension, between Chretien and the junior Bush was policy related. The refusal to support the Iraq war as an example.

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        Sean McLaughlin says:

        We did participate quietly but significantly in the 2003 Iraq War. The RCN contributed ships to a naval task force in the Persian Gulf and Gen. Walter Natynczyk commanded 35,000 American troops in III Corps for a spell on the ground. We were as neutral in Iraq as we were in Vietnam, which is not very.

        Anyway, Trump can zing allies of a century plus for laughs in the dumbest row of peanut gallery, but there’s no way the Pentagon will allow him to compromise Norad, the Five Eyes, joint naval bases in Australia, etc. The military knows the value of friends even if Il Duce doesn’t.

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    daveconstable says:

    I’ll give a different take on this.
    The other day I was talking with another ne’er-do-well about our own provincial economy, and he was telling me that we should be like Trump, and keep all contracts and jobs for locals. Then, I was taken aback when he offered that politicians should keep their mouths shut, because when our Prime Minister sounded off about bringing in more refugees, that set off the kid who shot those people in Quebec City.
    Probably not a widely held opinion, but there it was, from one fellow Canadian anyway.

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      rww says:

      Perhaps the attack was a response to the protests against Trump rather than to Trump himself. That being said we cannot simply ignore racism, bigotry and Fascism and hope it goes away out of fear something bad will happen if we challenge it. We, and our political leaders, have a responsibility to challenge it.

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    sean cummings says:

    I think we refuse to do business with this whack job. Yep, might mean a trade war and I really don’t care. If you do business with fascists you are part of the problem. Might mean lost jobs. Might mean any number of things. We need to take a stand

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    Wes W says:

    I don’t see the point in letting Trump know you don’t like him. What is this, grade school? Never ever let the other side see your cards. Rank amateur.

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    rww says:

    I look at Trump and I see a Fascist at the same time as I wonder if he has the intelligence required to have an ideology.

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      Nicole says:

      He may not but Bannon does and he is the real danger here.

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    Michael S says:

    I know Ian. He’s the old school of reporter that buys someone a beer at a quiet bar, shuts up and listens.

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    Robert Frindt says:

    Canada is not on Trump’s radar, and if Trudeau was smart he would do his best to maintain that status.

    Our one saving grace is that Trump is unlikely to notice Trudeau’s virtue signalling.

    Note: if Trump really plowed thru the NYT every day he would be much better informed than he appears to be.

    I doubt that Trump knows if Justin Trudeau is PM of Canada or the creator of Doonesbury.

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      Michael Bluth says:

      Staying off the radar is the smartest course of action. Maybe Trump knows that Justin really, really doesn’t like him. Less likely that he cares.

      What is gained?

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    Charlie says:

    As passive as this sounds, maybe we wait Trump out?

    The likelihood of this presidency lasting to the end of 2017 is so low given how many bridges he’s burnt in just the first two weeks.

    He wedged the American population into giving him a victory over the electoral process, and now he’s governing like he can do the same thing with the Presidency. The problem with that is when you’re at the heart of the system, you have to work with the system to affect any change. This administration is trying to steer a giant cargo-ship like a bicycle. The refugee ban is a prime example of how Trump’s little cabal doesn’t appreciate the impact of the White House nor the checks-and-balances that exist to prevent breakneck autocratic rule.

    Trump is conducting himself from a delusional place where he has the mandate of a POTUS that attained all the EC votes and the entire pop vote.

    I don’t see this situation sustaining itself for long. The GOP establishment and the WH have diametrically different views what they want from this newly attained power. Trump hasn’t grasped just how vulnerable he is to revolt from within his own party and just how weak his credibility already is.

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    Bill Templeman says:

    Instead of all this moral posturing against Trump, the Canadian government should the right things in the world that Trump is turning away from. Funding family planning, supporting renewable energy, accepting refugees, promoting democratic institutions abroad, cleaning up our own slime as mentioned above by billg (taking care of our vets, giving First Nations people the change to succeed, taking in more refugees, supporting alternative energy projects, supporting international efforts to curb climate change, etc.). If any of us had to confront an enraged Mike Tyson in his prime during a bar brawl, would our first reactions be to deliver a stern moral lecture?

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I want to know if this leak was authorized by the PM. If not, that person needs to become jobless. If it was part of the strategy, then it becomes immediately incumbent on the PM to take out the brass knuckles and use them. Once all pretense is gone, there is no alternative but to stick to your guns like the Australian PM.

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    Peter says:

    Before we even address the issue of how Canada should respond, I suggest we should deal with the question “Respond to what?” a lot more carefully and try to agree on what is and is not a Canadian interest. If I didn’t know better, I could easily think from the posts and comments here that this is an American site populated largely by Americans. One of the problems with all these unfocused “fascist!! cries is that people are imagining history from a bygone age is going to repeat itself and they are going to play a heroic role. This is a much more thoughtful and realistic piece on the threat Trump poses. It’s worrisome enough without fantasies about storm troopers and camps and it puts the question of what is domestic and what is international into stark relief.

    I’m not a big Justin fan, but I was impressed with his response to the visa/refugee actions. I’ll be a lot less impressed if he starts acting like he’s leading a global effort to safeguard the promise of the American Founding Fathers. Why do Canadian progressives who are so jealous of Canadian independence and so sensitive to American interference in Canadian affairs feel entitled to talk and act like they live in Peoria when it comes to American politics?

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      Kevin says:

      Wow. Standing up for what you believe is now to be considered “heroic” and something to be sneered at?

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        Peter says:

        Nobody is sneering, but if you are a head of government without any clear idea of why you are speaking out or what you hope to accomplish, it’s pretty reckless.

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          Kevin says:

          That’s certainly true. But I think our particular head of government has a pretty clear idea of why he should be speaking out in support of women, minorities, immigrants, refugees and so on, and knows that he wants to put Canada on record as being in opposition to US policy in those areas and continuing to go our own way. And if he hasn’t been able to figure that out for himself, I’d expect his advisors would have filled him in by now.

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    Simoin says:

    You know why they said this, don’t you?

    Because their reputation with their elite peer group at the NY Times is more important than the economic well-being of Canadians below their income bracket.

    It’s almost exactly like Trump’s Rasputin Bannon said, these people have more in common with their elite counterparts elsewhere than they do with the average folks in their own country.

    If the fall out of this is tariffs on Canada, and people tossed out of work, well Freeland and her husband, at least, can just go back to working for the Times.

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    Tim Sullivan says:

    Why is it so important to everyone that Trudeau vent his spleen?

    Who gives a shit if Trudeau doesn’t “like” Trump? Is this high school? Saying so, even if it’s true, doesn’t create one job, release one Canadian from US prison, add one more car built in Canada.

    Canada, as the mature, sophisticated, industrially developed democracy and ally of the US has to stick to its knitting, respect the US political, electoral and judicial system, speak up when it affects Canadian constituents and abide by the comity of nations.

    Trump’s an asshole, a racist, a misogynist and has a creepy thing for his daughter. Who the fuck cares? Protest all you want – as citizens. Trudeau’s job is to advance the nation’s interests.

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      Warren says:

      Don’t be dishonest. There is already plenty to oppose Trump on in a policy context.

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    Tim Sullivan says:

    I’m not being dishonest, Warren, to say Canada should stick to its knitting.

    I also didn’t say Canada can’t step into the breach, take the people who Trump finds offensive and improve our own space. You don’t have to get personal, or even political, to take advantage of Trump’s idiocy.

    You’re Irish. Why can’t the government be smiling and not going out of its way to offend all the while we having America buy us beer, fool around with its wife and have the dog come cuddle after eating.

    “Oh, Mr. Trump, you smell like elderberries and you are a racist …”

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