Canadian leaders of all political stripes reacted with indignation on Sunday following what some called “bully tactics” by President Donald Trump against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian trade tariffs.
Over the weekend, the war over how to renegotiate NAFTA got ugly, with the president and his aides attacking Trudeau for having stated, after Trump left early from a G7 Summit in Quebec, that Canada won’t be “pushed around” on trade. It was the same language the Canadian prime minister had been using all week, since announcing retaliatory tariffs on American products. But Trump, en route to try to hammer out a denuclearization deal with North Korea, didn’t take kindly to being made to seem “weak.” He followed it up with a tweet late Sunday rebranding “Fair Trade” as “Fool Trade.”
Trudeau has yet to respond to Trump’s latest comments, but Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Sunday that they were both “insulted” by the rhetoric coming from the south. There was also bipartisan outrage.
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“Canadians are united against Trump’s inflammatory statements & trade tariffs. New Democrats stand with the Govt of Canada against these bully tactics,” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted. “Also we cannot allow the workers affected to be forgotten. They are hit hardest in a trade war & need immediate govt support.”
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said the party continued to support the prime minister’s efforts on free trade, and said the “divisive rhetoric and personal attacks from the US administration are clearly unhelpful.”
Recently elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford of the Progressive Conservative Party, seen by many to resemble Trump’s populist politics, also tweeted that he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Trudeau on trade.
But that divisive rhetoric continued, with Trump tweeting late on Sunday that “Fair Trade” should now be called “Fool Trade” and continuing to slam Canadian tariffs on dairy. “Then Justin acts hurt when called out.”
Late last month, the Trump administration slapped Canada with hefty steel and aluminum tariffs, justifying it as a issue of “national security." The Trudeau government said it was insulted by the “absurd” claim that Canada posed a national security risk to the United States, and has retaliated with the threat of imposing surtaxes on $16.6-billion worth of American products. The tariffs are slated to kick in on July 1, Canada Day.