A former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. is calling on leaders to “lower the temperature” of rhetoric after Canada-U.S. relations frayed as the Group of Seven meeting concluded this weekend.
“Chaos may make for a good prescription for a good negotiation, but a good chef knows how and when to lower the temperature,” Derek Burney, now senior strategic advisor with Norton Fulbright, said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Monday. “It’s time to get a degree of civility back into our discourse with the Americans.”
Burney’s comments come after Trump called Trudeau “meek,” “dishonest” and “weak” after the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que. came to a close on Saturday. The president’s tweets were in response to Trudeau reiterating that Canada would proceed with retaliatory tariffs as a response to U.S. steel and aluminium levies.
Trudeau also said Canadians are polite and reasonable, but “will not be pushed around.”
Burney added it’s clear why Canadian business leaders have remained silent on the heated exchange that’s ratcheting up trade tensions between the two countries.
“I’m not surprised, when the political rhetoric is at the pitch that it’s been for the last 72 hours, that the Canadian business community goes mute and waits to see which direction it’s going in,” Burney said.
“I hope that they’re sending that message privately to the government in Canada and to the government in the United States and I assume that many of them are.”
The business community knows U.S.-Canada trade tensions are adding to uncertainty and affecting investment negatively, Burney said.
“Businessmen are the first ones to know that, but we have no choice but to develop a united front. I was delighted to see – that at the provincial level as well as at the federal level – the political voices are in unison on this one,” he said.