Tears, frustration and disappointment: Bruce Heyman on the state of Canada-U.S. relations
A lot has changed in the year since U.S. President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak” on his way out of the 2018 Group of Seven summit in Quebec.
Now, it appears that Trudeau has gained a considerable amount in his relationship with the U.S. President during last week’s meeting at the White House between the two leaders, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman.
“Looking at this last week, I think the Prime Minister came out in a pretty good place given where we were a year ago,” Heyman told BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday.
“The steel and aluminum tariffs are gone, he got the trade deal that I think the Prime Minister wanted, and you had the President of the United States saying ‘I’m going to support you with China,’ and the President was using language about ‘North America’ and the ‘North American trading relationship.’”
Trump left the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Que. last June having agreed to a joint statement from the trading bloc on trade, but fired shots at Trudeau on Twitter over auto tariffs and Canada’s supply management policy immediately after departing.
However, last week in D.C., Trump vowed that “anything I can do to help Canada I will be doing,” in regard to the two Canadians being imprisoned in China ahead of a possible meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Heyman – who recently authored the memoir The Art of Diplomacy: Strengthening the Canada-U.S. Relationship in Times of Uncertainty – said it’s that kind of duality that Trudeau needs to be aware of, even as the two leaders enjoy a thawing relationship.
“It is very different, but we all know that Donald Trump can turn on a dime and say something completely different and offensive the next day.”
Heyman added that it’s important Trudeau be able to play ball with Trump, even if the two don’t see eye-to-eye ideologically.
“I think for a Prime Minister, having a good relationship with the United States is important, but doesn’t necessarily mean that he has to be best friends with the President. But, he has to have a constructive relationship.”