Robin Williams presciently said years ago that Canada was like “the nice apartment over the meth lab.” Sounds about right, in the era of Trump. Canada is not standing still for the slurs irreverently and wrongly hurled at their charming Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Canada’s House of Commons voted unanimously on a motion “disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations.” Reuters:
Trudeau’s itinerary was marked “personal” and he was not in the House of Commons. The prime minister has kept a low profile since Trump called him “very dishonest and weak” and withdrew support for a Group of Seven communique reached at the summit Trudeau hosted in Quebec on Saturday.
The prime minister’s silence on Monday came in sharp contrast to a roar of disapproval among Canadian politicians, who banded together across party lines to denounce Trump’s attack and praise the bilateral and trading relationship between the two neighbors.
While the agreement of legislators who are normally opposed on most fronts was remarkable, the anger also spread to pundits, officials, celebrities and ordinary citizens as Canadians vowed consumer boycotts of American goods and brainstormed insults of Trump on social media.
“Something strange and wonderful has been sparked by @realDonaldTrump’s dishonorable comments about this country. I think it might be a Canadian identity,” newspaper columnist John Ivison tweeted.
It’s not just Canada. The entire Western world is aghast. Emmanuel Macron was openly contemptuous of Trump at the G7 Summit, saluting him when he sailed into the womens’ empowerment breakfast late. In the wake of the debacle with Trudeau, France has taken the side of its sister country, Canada, naturally. Since Macron has great respect for Trudeau, and none for Trump, what else?This was Macron’s take. CNN:
“International cooperation can’t depend on anger and small words. Let’s be serious and worthy of our people. We spent two days obtaining a draft and commitments. We stick to it. And anyone who leaves and turns their back on them shows their inconsistency,” the [Elysee] palace said.
Germany weighed in as well.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday called on European nations to stick together following Trump’s announcement.__“It’s actually not a real surprise. We have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal. In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters. To build that up again will take much longer,” he told reporters in Berlin.__He called on G7 members to “keep a cool head” and consider consequences.__“One will be that we will have to represent our interests in Europe as much more closed from the outside. We will also definitely go into talks with our … partners, especially Canada and Japan, and again see how we could work closer together. I would then next travel to Japan or try to set up talks with my Canadian colleagues very quickly.”
Japan has not weighed in yet, but Shinzo Abe is undoubtedly livid that after Trump promised he would “do his best to do the best for Japan,” i.e. negotiate a return of 12 Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korea over 30 years ago, he did absolutely nothing. Minimally, Abe is fed up.
Justin Trudeau is a gentleman and a competent leader. If Trump had a scintilla of sense he would be sitting at Trudeau’s feet, hoping to learn anything he could about governance. But in the bubble of unreality in which Trump dwells, Trudeau is a celebrity of a lesser country, and so is Macron and Merkel and Abe and the rest of them.
This is not over by a long shot. This is just getting started. Pissing off the Canadians was a really, really profoundly stupid thing to do.